JACKSON — No. 1 South Webster defeated the two-seeded Eastern Meigs Eagles Thursday night by a score of 60-51. The win crowns South Webster as the district champions and sends them to the Division IV Regional Semifinals to face off against the Waterford Wildcats.
The game started slowly for each team. Eastern relied on the Pullins sisters, Laura and Rebecca, for scoring in the first quarter and throughout much of the night. South Webster spread the ball around and managed capitalize off turnovers much of the night. After going up by three after the first, the Eagles held Webster to just seven second quarter points. Guard Jessica Parker ignited the crowd with a four point play as Eastern started the quarter on a 14-2 run that would eventually spell a seven point lead, 27-20, going into halftime.
South Webster Head Coach Kristie Johnson sent her girls back out in the second half with a purpose: specifically her daughters, as Elli Jo and Kimber Johnson combined for an 8-0 run coming out of the break and swinging momentum back in the Jeep’s favor. Elli Jo went inside often, which opened up star Kacie Hall for some easier buckets in the second half. She led all scorers with 20, and helped Webster regain the lead in the third quarter.
The Jeeps broke open the game in the fourth. They took a ten point lead and never looked back. Elli Jo contributed 16 for the Jeeps, while the Pullins sisters combined for 25. Jessica Parker also had 13 for the Eagles. Jeep Head Coach Kristie Johnson was glad for the win despite the slow start.
“We came out slow early,” admitted Johnson. “Shots weren’t falling for us and we weren’t as intense defensively as we normally are. We went into halftime and made some adjustments that worked out for us. But I give them a ton of credit, they are very young and they played really well. They gave us a run for our money, they are going to be a really good team in the next few years.”
“We didn’t prepare for their defense, and that’s on me. I think once we adjusted and got used to what they were doing Elli Jo started attacking the basket and playing her game. That really started to open things up for Kacie as they swarmed the lane a bit more. Kacie is just phenomenal. She was guarding their best player all game, but she is just the energizer bunny for us. She is our leader and I’m very fortunate to have all of the girls. I love them all. I have to mention the girls who don’t get game time. They are the unsung heroes. They come in every practice taking the roles of the other team’s best player. They don’t see the floor much but I never hear complaints from any of them. I’m very thankful for everything they do, and I’m thankful to be in the sweet sixteen again.”
“Last year, Waterford were the state runners up. They knocked us out of the tournament. Our entire goal has been to get back to them and try another run against them. We just have to go out and play our game, and we are going to have to play a great game in order to beat them.”
South Webster will try to get revenge Thursday, March 3rd at Jackson High School.
South Webster 13 7 20 20 — 60
Eastern Meigs 10 17 9 15 — 51
South Webster: Hall 20, E.J. Johnson 16, Weakley 11, K. Johnson 7, Stamper 6
Eastern Meigs: R. Pullins 13, Parker 13, L. Pullins 12, Collins 6, Bailey 4, Castro 3
Reach Derrick Parker at email@example.com or on twitter @DC__Parker