CENTRE – Behind Audrey Haygood’s 19 points, including 15 in the third quarter, the Cherokee County Lady Warriors clinched the Class 4A, Area 10 girls basketball championship on Friday evening with a 60-22 blowout of Jacksonville.
Haygood earned the tournament’s Most Valuable Player honor.
“She’s really come on late in the season. She’s been good for us,” first-year Lady Warrior coach Richard Barton said. “She’s got an attack mindset. If she thinks she can go to the goal she’s going to go. She decided in the second half to turn it on. It gave us a boost for sure.”
Mary Hayes Johnson tallied 10 points for the Lady Warriors (22-7). Ellisan Givens added nine points and Ella Garmany finished with seven points. Johnson and Garmany joined Haygood as all-tournament selections.
DeAsia Prothro posted 10 points to lead Jacksonville. Halaina Lozano finished with five points.
After a sluggish start yielded a 6-5 Lady Warrior lead in the first quarter, Cherokee County began to turn it on in the second to take a 21-12 advantage at halftime. Thanks in large part to Haygood, the Lady Warriors put the game away in the third quarter by going on a 26-8 run to take a 47-20 edge.
“The last time we played them, they came out in a little 3-2 zone and tried to slow us down a little bit,” Barton said. “It worked in the first half. We were a little flat. We’ve been doing that for a few games. It takes us a little while to get going, but once we get going, we get going.
“I think getting a few steals and being able to run the floor, I think it’s something we’re able to do all the time but we don’t always do it. When we do, it gets us going and that’s our game. That’s what we want to do.”
The Lady Warrior win secured a home sub-regional game on Monday against Area 8 runner-up Talladega. Tip off is at 6 p.m. Jacksonville will travel to Area 8 champion Handley.
“I’m proud of all the girls,” Barton said. “This is what we worked for. We’ve got one more at home.”
Cherokee Post Herald sportswriter Roy Mitchell contributed to this report.