After her team lost 58-36 Monday in the semifinals of the MHSAA Class 1A state basketball championship, Simmons High School girls basketball coach Bernita Alexander was focusing on the positive.
Because Alexander’s team is filled mostly with young players, with Nariah Robinson being the lone senior, this year’s trip to Jackson could be a great learning experience for the Lady Blue Devils (19-4).
“I thought we had some kids who were a little star struck out there, and they weren’t ready to play. It is like they had a brain cramp. Hopefully, we can get back there next year and they will know what to do,” Alexander said.
It was the outside shooting of the Ingomar that doomed Simmons’ fate. The Falcons’ hot hand helped them jump out to a 18-6 lead at the end of the first quarter and an all but insurmountable 33-14 lead at halftime.
Ingomar’s Katie Beth Hall made six 3-pointers in the game to finish with 18 points. Falcon Macie Phifer led her team with 24 points.
“I had been watching Ingomar from a distance all year long, and I sort of figured we would have to play them eventually,” Alexander said. “It was always going to be a tough matchup for us. They are a championship team.”
Ingomar (22-9) advances to the 1A State Championship game Thursday against West Lowndes
Junior Taylor Lucas-Howard led the Lady Blue Devils with 16 points on 7 of 15 shooting. Carl’Kaisha Lucas scored seven points, and sophomore Jamira Scott scored seven.
The Simmons Blue Devils came into Jackson red hot. After defeating Sebastopol 69-40 last Friday in the state quarterfinals, the Lady Blue Devils brought a nine game winning streak into Big House.
This was the second time in three seasons that Coach Bernita’s Blue Devils had made it to Jackson. Simmons advanced to the championship game in 2019.
“This was a tough matchup for us, but hopefully next year we will give it another shot.