North Augusta Lady Jackets state bound for 6th time in 7 years
GREENVILLE, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) - The North Augusta girls basketball team has been on a mission all year long to avenge last year’s loss in the state championship game.
In Friday night’s Class 4A Upper State Championship game, North Augusta went head-to-head with Wade Hampton at Bob Jones University in Greenville.
The Lady Jackets got off to a hot start, but their eight-point first-quarter lead evaporated in the blink of an eye. Despite being down six points at halftime, North Augusta roared back and took control in the second half.
They dug deep and found a way to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat, 58-50.
The excellent execution down the stretch in the fourth quarter by the Lady Jackets helped them punch their ticket to state for the sixth time in the last seven years.
There are three seniors in the starting lineup and they’re supported by three freshmen. Two of them are starters and an eighth grader whose impact off the bench has not gone unnoticed.
Freshman Forward Celena Grant said, “I’m actually really happy you know, but it’s not over. We have another game to win. We have to win at state.”
This team is loaded with young talent, and when it mattered most Grant led the way with 24 points and countless big plays with the game on the line.
Head Coach Al Young said, “I think it took a lot of heart. I thought we were kind of down there, during the game, and at the end, they stepped up and showed courage, and we worked through it and they didn’t get down on themselves. We made some mistakes throughout the game, but they help it together at the end, and we prevailed.”
Grant said, “Just come and play Jackets basketball. I couldn’t do it without my team you know. Without them motivating me, never giving up. Nobody ever gave up, nobody dropped their head. We came out there in the second half and knew what we had to do. We was down. We knew what we had to do.”
This team has used the successful history of this program to motivate them the entire season.
Freshman Starting Point Guard Kenedi Wright said, “I was a little nervous at first. We started off a little slow, but as the game was going, we had to pick up and play good, play hard, and know that if we wanted to make it to the championship, then we had to take care of that game first.”
After all of their hard work, they’re going to state with a chance to win North Augusta’s fifth state title, and put their names in the history books. The state championship game between North Augusta and Westwood is scheduled for March 2 at USC Aiken.
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