Lady Crimsons advance to the state tournament


Jaela Johnson (10, #33) goes up for a layup. Photo by Jordyn Stumpf.

Reagan Roy

Jaela Johnson (10, #33) goes up for a layup. Photo by Jordyn Stumpf.
Jaela Johnson (10, #33) goes up for a layup in the Region 7 tournament.
Photo by Jordyn Stumpf.

With 20 seconds left in the fourth quarter, Head Coach of the Lady Crimsons, Jeffrey Sparks, called his final timeout and made a full lineup change.  All of the starters took a seat, and when the clock hit zero, the Manual stands erupted.  The Lady Crimsons were on their way to the state tournament.

The Lady Crimsons defeated rival Male Bulldogs 64-47 in a game where the Crimsons implemented key practice strategies and showed all the doubters that the best team in Region seven is Manual.

“They played fantastic,” Sparks said. “Male is a great basketball team, and we knew we were in for a tough game tonight. We ran the gameplan to perfection and did an amazing job all around.”

Defensively, the Crimsons worked on star Male player I’lyaih Green (12) and eventually caused the University of Cincinnati Bearcat commit to foul out. This allowed for Krys Mccune (12, #55) to work the post against Male uncontested.  Manual tried a new type of defense meant to isolate Green and force her team to work without her in the post.

“We put in some new plays and executed them really well, and Male did not expect us to win,” Ami Ballard (12, #11) said.  “On defense, we faced guarded two of their players and executed perfectly. We even took two of their best players out of the game.”

Midway through the fourth quarter of play Male was desperate and used their final timeout.  From here on out, Male would foul nearly ever possession just to stop the clock and give them a chance to get the ball back.  

“This game was huge. We played for a regional championship and won against a great team like Male. I never believed we had won until the clock hit zero,” Sparks said.

On offense, the Crimsons ran several plays that the Bulldogs did not prepare for and almost always had a player open for a three or from the inside.  Mccune, Tonysha Curry (11, #23), and Jalea Johnson (10, #33) lead the team on offense in the game.

“I feel great. There’s not even words for how excited I am for Thursday,” Mccune said. “We played very, very well. Our shots fell, our offense worked the ball around and made the right calls, and we could not have had a better game than we did tonight.”

The reaction from the Crimson fans as the players held up the region 7 trophy were ecstatic. Coaches congratulated each other, and parents and students alike gave each other hugs of congratulations.

“I don’t even know how to prepare for what comes next. Tonight we will celebrate this, and tomorrow I’ll figure out who we play and how to prepare,” Sparks said.
The Lady Crimsons are going to the state tournament this Thursday, March 10, where they will face off against Murray at 12:00 p.m.  Stay tuned to the Crimson Student Press Network on Twitter for coverage of the 2016 Kentucky Girls’ basketball state tournament.