Report by Wes Gwaltney
The third time may have been the charm Wednesday night for the Jonesboro Lady Hurricanes as they held off a second-half Batesville rally and defeated the Lady Pioneers 51-50 for the 5A East conference title.
The visitors from Craighead County came out with a head of steam in the first quarter as a slow start for the Lady Pioneers would see them trailing 13-2 at the end of the first frame.
Batesville would finally kick start their offense a little bit in the second quarter as they would hit a few baskets, but the frenzy of the Lady Hurricanes would continue as they would outscore Batesville once again and take a 28-14 lead into the halftime break.
With a trip to the locker room, the Lady Pioneers would come back invigorated and would take the fight to Jonesboro out of halftime as they would outscore the Lady Hurricanes by ten and would drop the Jonesboro lead to just four heading into the final quarter behind Izzy Higginbottom’s 12 points in the frame.
Going back and forth in the final eight minutes, and closing to one on several occasions, thanks to two three-pointers by both Kaylee Clark and Higginbottom, the Lady Hurricanes would stay rocksteady at the line and would defeat the Lady Pioneers by a 51-50 final.
Leading the Lady Pioneers in scoring was Senior Izzy Higginbottom with 25 points, Senior Kaylee Clark would add 17 points, Junior Taylor Rush would add two baskets and Senior London Cuzzort and Sophomore Kayla Ward would add two points apiece.
The Lady Pioneers will now advance to state tournament play next week in Hot Springs as they will take on the three seed from the Central, which is still to be decided, with tipoff for round one set for 10 a.m. Thursday.