Class 7A Regional Final: Hornets' Late Push Sends Them to Victory
Sun. February 17, 2013 at 3:27 a.m. | By Mike Cobb
Haines City's Brekia Henderson shoots over Harmony's Allison Vantassel during Saturday's Class 7A girls regional final. (Photo by PAUL CRATE | LEDGER MEDIA GROUP)
By MIKE COBB | LEDGER CORRESPONDENT
HAINES CITY | Haines City girls basketball coach Ladreda Akins looked at the film of Harmony and told guard Jasmine Reddick to be ready.
"A lot of our points are coming from our post, but we told Jasmine Reddick, ‘You're going to be a key to this game, because you will score,'" Akins said.
It took until the end of the game, but Akins' message proved to be true. Leading 26-24 with under two minutes to play, Reddick scored on three straight driving layups and the Hornets went on to defeat Harmony 37-24 in the Class 7A girls basketball regional finals at Haines City's Robin Wagman Gymnasium.
The win puts Haines City (24-6) in the FHSAA state tournament for the second consecutive year. Haines City will face Davie Nova in the afternoon session on Friday at The Lakeland Center. Last year, the Hornets lost to Sebastian River in the 7A championship game.
"It's a big deal," Reddick said about getting back to the state tournament. "Everybody doubted us in the beginning. We just had to come out and show everyone what the Lady Hornets can do."
The six points Reddick scored in the final two minutes were her only six points of the night, but they made the difference in a slow-paced, physical game.
"I saw that we needed a win and I tried to help my team the best way I could, and that was making three back-to-back shots," Reddick said.
Her three layups followed a driving layup by guard Brekia Henderson that broke a 24-24 tie with just under three minutes left.
Up to that point, Harmony packed its defense around Haines City post players Jadeshia Johnson and Jasmyne Brown. Although the duo combined for 20 of the Hornets' 37 points — Brown with 13 and Johnson with seven — the points were hard to come by.
That forced Haines City to pull the ball out and play a disciplined style of offense to open up scoring lanes inside.
"We went over it in practice how they're going to pack it in," Haines City point guard Jone' Akins said. "We had to slow it down and pass the ball to get them distracted, then work it in. It really didn't get frustrating, we just had to work through it and wait until (the shots) came."
Although Haines City never trailed, their biggest lead until the final burst at the end was six points, at 6-0 to start the game.
Harmony 22-4 rallied to tie the game on six different occasions, but Haines City never relinquished the lead. The Hornets held leads of 12-10 at the half and 20-17 heading into the third quarter.
After Harmony scored to tie the game at 24, Haines City scored the game's final 13 points. The last five came at the free-throw line where the Hornets converted five of six in the final minute.