The win put the Golden Eagles in today’s girls championship game against Ashville at 1:30 p.m., and it came fewer than 24 hours after Jacksonville lost to Class 4A No. 6 Anniston 58-39 on Thursday.
“Anniston is a really good team, and like I said last year, we always feel like it’s going to come down to us and them just because of the way we both play,” Chambless said. “It’s a really good 4A game for us and tells us where you’re at and where you need to get to.
“I was just happy that we came in here tonight and competed and played good defense.”
The rebound Friday began almost immediately, as Jacksonville (9-4) scored 12 straight points after trailing 2-0. The offensive success continued in the second quarter, mostly behind the shooting of Virginia Poe, who scored a game-high 12 points, and Destiny Easley, who had 10.
“All I’m really trying to stress is trying to improve every day and not focus on the record,” Chambless said. “I think they’re buying into that, both the boys and girls, and I’m really proud of that.
The Golden Eagles’ offensive success was helped by a defensive trap that hindered Pell City all game. Jacksonville forced 29 turnovers and allowed only two field goals in the third quarter, taking a 55-25 lead into the fourth.
“I thought we came out of halftime and got our starters back in the game and out of foul trouble,” Chambless said. “We were able to get a little pressure on them. That’s what I like to see.”
Jacksonville had 11 players score and shot more than 50 percent from the field, including 40 percent from beyond the arc.
Pell City (3-9) was led by Kayla Millender’s six points. Lauren Huling added five.
Ashville 45, Piedmont 27: Piedmont struggled at the beginning of each quarter until it was too late to make a comeback.
The Bulldogs (2-6) were led by Bre Green, who scored all 10 of Piedmont’s first-quarter points, but the scoring didn’t begin until the Bulldogs were down 6-0.
Ashville (10-3) responded to a 10-8 deficit entering the second quarter with a 9-0 run and behind the shooting of Erieanna Gilbert, Chatara Stoudmire and Anika Bothwell. Gilbert scored 14 points, while Stoudmire had 13 and Bothwell 11.
“The intensity wasn’t there. The hustle wasn’t there,” Piedmont coach Terrace Ridley said. “We got a lot of shots off, but they just weren’t falling. If we can’t get a shot to fall we’ll stop shooting. But we’re really young right now and we don’t have many experienced players. We’re trying to get them in the groove of the offense.”
Green scored a season-high 15 points and added three steals.
Piedmont will face Pell City at 10:30 a.m. today in the girls consolation game.
Weaver 80, Ashville 51: When Ashville called a timeout 43 seconds in the game, the Bulldogs were already in too deep. Before the timeout, Weaver’s Chris English made back-to-back shots to give the Bearcats the opening lead.
It was a lead Weaver (8-2) never gave up, as it heads into today’s championship game against Jacksonville at 3 p.m.
Class 3A No. 8 Weaver took a 44-32 lead into the start of the third quarter. Weaver went on a 12-0 scoring run, and outscored Ashville 27-8 in the period to put the game out of reach.
“We took better shots. I think our defense caused us to get a lot of lay-ups, especially the second half,” Weaver head coach Daryl Hamby said. “The key to us is our defense, and I thought we did a good job at that.”
Hamby singled out the defensive performance of sophomore point guard Delo Forbes: “I told them to turn the pressure up, and it all started with Delo Forbes. Delo did a really good job on their point guard, who handles the ball well, and made him give up the ball and made it tough for him to get it back.”
The Bearcats finished the game shooting 62 percent from the field, and were led by English’s 20 points. Timothy Hawkins added 12 points and six rebounds, while Shon’D McKinney chipped in with 12 points. Forbes added 12 points and dished out six of the team’s 21 assists.
“If we keep that up, and shoot the ball like we are capable of, we’ll be successful. When we become selfish, we have a high chance of getting beat,” Hamby said.
Jacksonville 74, Woodland 55: The Golden Eagles were led offensively by guards Sid Thurmond and Cam Horton, who finished with 25 and 21 points, respectively.
Thurmond also added five rebounds, five assists, and four steals, while Horton swiped six steals, and pulled down four boards.
“I see us improving, but I want to see us improve a little more and just play smarter,” Chambless said. “I think we are getting better every day, and that’s what I care about the most.”
The different in the game was the first quarter as Jacksonville opened with 22 points, while holding Woodland to 13. The Bobcats fought back, but never could pull to within more than nine points.
The Golden Eagles put the game out of reach in the fourth quarter by shooting 83 percent (10 of 12) from the free throw line. Five of those came from Thurmond, who never came off the floor during the game.
“I thought our seniors played a lot better, and our young guys played well, too,” Chambless said.
The Jacksonville victory sets up a matchup with Weaver today in the championship game.
Anniston Star Sports Correspondent Chris Brown contributed to this story.