HARRISBURG — The top-ranked club in Class 2A earned a 65-36 win over Anna-Jonesboro as Harrisburg (30-0) picked up its second straight regional crown Thursday evening.
"I thought we defended really well," said Harrisburg coach Jake Stewart. "I don't know what they shot from 3-point land, but we knew that they were a really good 3-point shooting team. We tipped eight 3-pointers tonight that A-J shot, so I thought we defended the 3-point line really well. We knew we had to do that coming in."
The Lady Wildcats (13-18) had closed to within 22-17 midway through the second quarter before Harrisburg ended the first half on a 10-0 run to lead 32-17 at intermission.
Harrisburg continued with that momentum out of halftime by going on an 11-1 run to begin the third quarter which put the game out of reach.
"We knew we had to battle and had to knock down some shots," said Anna-Jonesboro coach Matt Denny. "We battled and cut it back to five or seven there in the first half. The effort was there tonight which is what I wanted. I said we've got to battle for four quarters no matter if we're up 20 or down 20; I said we have to battle. The effort's got to be there, and we did."
Four players were in double figures for Harrisburg including senior Lotte Miller who led the way with 15 points. Teammate Karsyn Davis drained four 3-pointers and finished with 14 points while Matty Hawkins scored 13 and Jessica Hopson dropped in 12.
Junior Angel Helm scored seven points for an A-J club who was searching for its first regional title since 2004-05.
Harrisburg will meet another SIRR Mississippi school, Nashville, Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. in McLeansboro. The Hornettes ended Harrisburg's campaign last season in the sectional semifinals.
"It's the team who put us out last year. They're going to be just as good this year. They have shooters, they have a big girl inside," said Stewart. "We are 30-0 and they are whatever they are, but right now, you throw away records when you get to the sectional. It's going to come down to who makes the most plays at the end of the game, so we are going to prepare and go over there Tuesday night and give it our best."