Not all perfect seasons are meant for perfect endings. The West Jones Lady Mustangs’ attempt at a 30-0 season was denied in their 30th and final game of the 2018-2019 season on Friday.
The Lady Mustangs, who ran roughshod over the opposition much of the season, ran into a buzzsaw in the Class 5A State Championship game, falling short of the title with a 61-48 loss to Olive Branch.
They finish the season 29-1.
“They came to win, they came to play,” West Jones coach Sharon Murray said of Olive Branch. “We did too, but they’re just a very tough team and very hard to guard.”
For game highlights, click on the link: https://youtu.be/iVJhWOdJK5w
Specifically, Endya Buford proved too tough to contain for the Lady Mustangs. The Olive Branch point guard scored a game-high 36 points in the win. None of her teammates had more than eight points.
“It’s hard to find an answer for her,” Murray said of Buford. “She even got going from the 3-point line. Give her some space, she shoots 3’s. Get on her tight, she goes around you and draws fouls. Just a very good player and hard to stop.”
Buford and the Lady Quistors held a double digit lead seemingly all game. The Lady Mustangs did cut the deficit to five points with five minutes remaining off a layup from Jurnee McLaurin, who led West Jones with 20 points. Buford answered with one of her four 3-pointers on Olive Branch’s ensuing possession, though.
“Every time we took a step, they took about two,” Murray said. “We’d get it down, and they’d push it back up. Every time we’d get a punch, they’d give us one or two back.”
Regardless of the outcome, Murray says she’s proud of what her team accomplished this season.
“They feel horrible right now, but we’ll still look back on these days and notice they’ve left a big legacy.”