Photo/James Pugh

Sherri Cooley wasn’t impressed with how her team started. They finished, though, how they have for 24 other games this season – with a win.

South Jones defeated Stone 54-36 Monday night at home in girls’ basketball to advance to the second round of the MHSAA Class 5A playoffs.

Check the link to see a few highlights from the game:

“I was a little disappointed in the way we started,” said the South Jones head coach. “I thought we were playing too complacent and not hustling hard enough. I think we expected the game to come to us.

“I told our girls at halftime, as I told them at practice when it gets to this time of the year we need to step up our game. We need to step up our defense, we need to step up our hustle, and we need to step up our game because at this point in the year everyone can play and everyone has players that can shoot. Whoever steps up their game and goes after those loose balls is who’s going to win.”

Check the link to see our whole post-game interview with Sherri Cooley:

South Jones led 12-4 after the first period. A shower of three’s in the second period kept Stone High in the game. Back to back three-point baskets by Reina Hartfield and Laila Hill pulled Stone within two, 12-10, early in the second stanza.



“We had to get out and go to our full-court man press,” said Cooley. “I thought we did a good job of getting a few turnovers and turning them into some transition buckets for us.”

Back to back turnovers midway through the second period resulted in fast break layouts for Ebony Fulford and Jordan Clark. They extended the Lady Braves led to nine points, 19-10.

South Jones finished the first half on top, 21-15.

The lead grew in the second half as South Jones outscored Stone, 21-8, in the third period.

Stone managed to outscore South in the final period, 13-11, but the ground gained wasn’t enough to make a considerable difference. Senior point guard Hydia McDonald scored 10 of Stone’s 13 points in the closing period, including two three-point baskets. McDonald led Stone in points on the night with 15, including three three-pointers.

JCJC signee Endia Holliday led South Jones with 17 points. Jordan Clark also finished in double-digits with 15 points.

South Jones (25-5) will now face Brookhaven (23-6) Friday night on the road in round two.

“We played them here a couple of weeks ago,” noted Cooley. “They’re a talented team, and it will be hard to go there and try to beat them. They have a strong inside presences and several guards who can shoot the three’s.”

South Jones beat Brookhaven 55-44 on Feb. 2.

Tip-off Friday night is slated for 7 p.m.