Lady Tigers advance, make history in MAIS Overall Tournament

Published 12:46 pm Wednesday, March 3, 2021

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WEST HELENA, Ark. — Heading into Monday night’s game at DeSoto School in the first round of the 2021 MAIS Overall Basketball Tournament, Centreville Academy’s varsity girls’ basketball team had never advanced out of this round.

That all changed after the Lady Tigers, with four players scoring in double figures, pulled away with less than two minutes left in the fourth quarter for a 72-62 win over the Lady Thunderbirds.

And for the second year in a row, Lady Tigers made history on the hardwood. And one person who is very proud of this accomplishment is head coach Brandy Hall.

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“We had never won the state championship until last year (Class 2A state title). Last night, we won in the first round (at) Overall. And that’s never happened,” Hall said. “We’re 1-18 in the whole MAIS (at Overall).”

Savannah Hailey led Class 2A No. 3 seed Centreville Academy with 25 points and Lexlea Sterling had 14 points. Hall added that All-Stars Emilea Roberts and Lacy Darden had 13 and 12 points, respectively. Hall added that she recently found out that she will coaching in the All-Star Game, which will be the second time she has earned that honor.

As for the win over DeSoto School, Hall said, “It didn’t look like our best game. But we did what we had to do to win the game. You have to have more than one or two players score in double figures come tournament time. And we had that last night. We did have some good moments. It took us just over five hours to get there.”

The Lady Tigers led the Class 1A No. 2 seed Lady Thunderbirds 59-46 with 4:58 to play before the home team went on an 11-1 run to make it a 60-57 game with 1:39 remaining. Centreville then went on a 12-5 run of its own to close out the game.

Winning the game and making history in the process made the long ride back home to Centreville a lot more fun and relaxing for Hall and her players.

Centreville Academy (25-6) will have its hands full when it travels to Jackson to take on Class 5A state champion Jackson Academy (30-2). The Lady Raiders survived an upset bid from Class 4A No. 3 seed Pillow Academy 54-52 Tuesday night.

“Everybody has to be on their ‘A’ game. We really have nothing to lose,” Hall said. “If they play smart, play together, we’ll give them a good run. There’s only eight teams left in all of MAIS.”