By Rocky Higginbotham
Webster Progress Times
A year after they came up just shy of reaching the Girls State Tournament, East Webster found itself trailing at home in a go-to game last Friday night.
This time, however, the Lady Wolverines would not be denied.
East Webster buckled down in the fourth quarter, then rode the hot hand of senior standout Adryana Bell to a 45-43 victory over East Union in the MHSAA Class 2A state playoffs.
The win lifted the Lady Wolverines to 24-7 on the season and also sent them into the “Elite Eight.” East Webster will take on Bay Springs in a state quarterfinal game Friday at 1:30 p.m., in the Mississippi Coliseum in Jackson. The winner will move on to a “Final Four” state semifinal game the morning of Tuesday, March 7.
East Webster, which whipped Strayhorn 60-44 last Monday night in a first-round playoff game, was sluggish against a solid East Union team on Friday before turning it up a notch.
“I can’t adequately express how proud I am of these girls for their willingness to stay together during a tough game and believe we could win,” East Webster coach Mike Seger said. “Things looked bad when we got down seven points with 3 minutes to go, but we showed composure and found ways to get some buckets to fall.”
Bell, the Northeast Mississippi Community College signee, scored 13 of her game-high 21 points in the fourth quarter. She finished with 18 rebounds and seven steals, while Jennah Pate was solid throughout with 14 points, 12 rebounds and four blocked shots. In fact, Pate provided the game-winning shot off a nice dish from Mariah Bell.
“Isha Patterson, Kadasha Bryant, Mariah Bell, and MariTodd Brown contributed in major ways to an outstanding defensive effort that held East Union to 43 points,” Seger said, noting that Patterson also grabbed six offensive boards and finished with eight rebounds.
In last Monday’s win over Strayhorn, East Webster started strong and led 28-13 at halftime and 42-23 going into the fourth quarter.
“It was a huge boost to be at home with our crowd because we were a little tired and sluggish from the (district tournament),” Seger said. “We held their best two players to 14 combined points through three quarters, which allowed us to push out to a 24-point lead early in the fourth quarter. We did a good job of creating easy baskets off turnovers.”
Adryana Bell pumped in 28 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, Pate double-doubled with 11 points and 14 rebounds and Patterson snatched 16 rebounds to go with seven points.
Mariah Bell pulled in 11 rebounds and scored five points, while Brown scored seven points and had three steals.