FAIRFIELD — Sometimes a slight adjustment is all that it takes for a fine race car to go from running good to purring like a kitten.
No. 12-ranked Mansfield Summit's coaching staff tweaked things a bit a halftime of the Lady Jaguars' Class 4A, Region 2, bi-district game against the Fightin' Maidens of Jacksonville Monday night at the Johnson Activities Center in Fairfield, and those changes were enough to enable Summit to dominate in the fianl 16 minutes of paly and advance to the winners circle after collecting a 41-27 decision over Jacksonville.
“They (Summit) changed some things up on their half-court press that gave us some problems and they went on a run there and that was all the opportunity that they need,” Jacksonville head coach, Tony Harris, said.
After a defensive-oriented first half that saw each team take 14 points to their respective dressing rooms at the break, the Lady Jaguars (24-7) opened the third stanza on an 11-0 run to move ahead, 25-14, with 2:40 to go in the third.
After making 10 turnovers in the first half, the Maidens (15-12) turned the rock over nine times in the third quarter, with most of those errors being generated by Summit's salty press.
The Maidens didn't give up though as the Jacksonville girls reduced Summit's lead to 27-21, with 28 ticks left in the third after a TaSheena Canady free throw.
Jacksonville trailed 29-21 going into the final frame, with Summit slowly and methodically building its advantage as the fourth segment played out.
“I know they made a lot of free throws in the fourth quarter,” Harris said.
Summit went 8 of 8 from the charity line and outscored the Maidens 12-6 in the last eight minutes.
Summit's Stylz Sanders led all players with 16 points. Twelve of those came in the second half.
Jasmine Parson, Jacksonville's only senior, and Inchantra Kendrick fired in eight points apiece, followed by Canady with six and DaMonica Franklin, who added five.
Summit, who will move on to play either Lucas Lovejoy or Sulphur Springs in an Area game later this week, also eliminated the Maidens in the bi-district round last year and went four rounds deep in the post season.
With the majority of the Jacksonville team returning next season, Harris said this isn't the last that will be heard from the Maidens.
“I'm really proud of how this team bounced back all year,” Harris said. “We will go back and start getting to work on next season.”