The third-seeded Golden Eagles (15-6) ran out to a 25-3 lead after the first quarter, and were up 47-9 heading into the locker room.
“The biggest thing I said before the game was I just wanted to do what we do really well,” said Jacksonville coach Ryan Chambless. “We are fairly young, and the thing is, I feel like we aren’t as young as I think, because some of the players I’ve had for three years.”
Two of the players Chambless has coached for three years are Angel Kidd and Virginia Poe.
“It’s always good for Poe and Kidd to get off to a good start,” Chambless said. “Anytime they shoot the ball well, we tend to play better.”
The two juniors finished with a game-high 12 points each, in limited minutes.
“Coach always tells us to start off fast, so we try to carry that momentum throughout all four quarters,” Kidd said.
The Jacksonville defense collected 18 steals, and forced 29 Faith Christian (10-10) turnovers.
“I thought it was a good defensive effort,” Poe said. “I think our pressure really shook them up a little bit, and that’s what we work on the most, so I was proud of that.”
With the win, the defending county tournament champions move into the semifinals against No. 2 seed Oxford, who beat Pleasant Valley later in the night.
“If we win this, it’ll definitely give us the momentum heading into the area tournament, especially after last year’s disappointment,” said Poe. “We don’t want that to happen again, so we are working to win the area tournament.”
For Chambless though, it’s all about getting better during each game.
“The thing is, we are just trying to continue improving each game, and play every game the best we can and see what happens.”
One of the more experienced players on the team, Kidd, said she’s looking to get back to her fourth consecutive county tournament finals, as well as making a return trip to Birmingham for the state playoffs.
“I’m one of the more experienced players, since I’ve been to state, so I know what it takes to get there,” Kidd said. “So I’m trying to tell my teammates what it’s like, and try to be a leader. It’s really important to me, because I know what it takes.
“We have to keep the motivation going. If we win county, then we’ll have motivation going into the area tournament. If we win area, then we’ll have the motivation going into the playoffs.”