By Tony Burns
Junction City’s girls enter the 3A State Tournament on a high note after beating Prescott 59-51 in the third place game of the regional tournament Saturday in Fordyce.
The Lady Dragons hope that win was the start of something big as they open the state tournament today against Bald Knob.
Tip-off is scheduled for 4 p.m. at Drew Central High School in Monticello.
The Lady Bulldogs beat Marianna Lee 38-34 in their regional semifinals and then fell to Harding Academy 64-44 in the championship game.
“They have two players they run their offense through,” said Junction City coach Henry Harrell. “They’re pretty good-sized young ladies, average 17, 18 points apiece. They’re pretty quick, rebound very well and handle the ball very well.
“They’re a solid team. We’re going to have to battle.”
Bald Knob is led by Kinlee Varnell, a 5-10 junior point guard and Madi Pierce, a 5-8 junior forward.
“We’ve had a couple good days of practice. I think going to state last year is going to help us this year,” said Harrell. “Handling the pressure and rebounding the ball will be the keys and, if it comes down to free throws, making free throws.”
The Lady Dragons watched as their fourth-seeded boys team upset top-seeded Harding Academy on Tuesday. Later, Fordyce, which won the 8AAA conference championship and claimed the regional title, was bounced from the state tournament by fourth-seeded Marianna Lee, which lost to Bald Knob in the regional.
“The girls are looking forward to this game. We’re looking forward to going over there and playing. If we can win, it’ll be the first win in the state tournament in over 20 years,” said Harrell.
“But, we’re going to take it one game at a time. We saw what happened to Fordyce, a one seed that got beat. So, we know that anything is possible.”