WHITEHOUSE — Judging by the final score, it would appear Tuesday's District 16-5A game against Whitehouse was just another day at the office for the state-ranked Jacksonville High School girls basketball squad.
That was the not the case, however, even though Jacksonville garnered a 48-30 victory over the Ladycats (4-15, 2-3) to improve to 15-8, 5-0.
If anyone questions just how much Grace Abercrombie means to the Maiden team — both physically and mentally — then Tuesday's game in Whitehouse should clear the air.
Abecrombie, a junior, was driving the lane in the second quarter and when she went to make her cut at the 5:04 mark, she fell to the court in agony after injuring her right ankle.
Jacksonville owned an eight point lead at the time.
After receiving treatment from a member of the Whitehouse training staff and some pain relief medication from her mother, Abercrombie was able to get back into the game in the third quarter, missing a total of 9:16 of action.
During that time the Ladycats seized the momentum and cut the Maidens' lead to two points.
Although not 100-percent, Abercrombie quickly swished a 3-pointer from the wing that expanded her team's lead to 28-23 with 3:04 left in the third frame.
The quarter ended with Abercrombie and Alexis Calderon dropping in treys, giving the Maidens a 36-25 lead going into the fourth period.
“We were able to stay in the game while Grace (Abercrombie) was getting treatment,” Jacksonville head girls basketball coach, Lynn Nabi said. “Once she came back in and immediately hit that three, it gave our team a second wind … a real boost in confidence that we could get the job done.”
Abercrombie scored 20 points for the Maidens, which included six shots from beyond the arc.
Calderon netted 11 points and canned a trio of 3-pointers, with seniors Trinya Matlock and Tamia Tucker tossing in six points each.
Jacksonville also played rock-solid defense, holding Whitehouse to single digits in three of the four quarters.
“I was really proud of the way we played on defense,” Nabi said. “Our defensive play kept us in the game until we could get Grace back. Our girls knew we had to step things up defensively since we were not playing at full strength.”
The Maidens also were without injured Ka'Lessia Anderson for the second-straight game. Nabi said he hopes to have her back for Friday's game against Pine Tree (6:15 tip off at the John Alexander Gymnasium).
The Fightin' Maidens crashed the boards hard on Tuesday, with Tysheria Gipson pulling down 14 rebounds (7 offensive) and Jakayla Young coming up with 10 caroms, including five offensive boards.
Jacksonville led from wire-to-wire.