HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – Pine Bluff knew what it needed to do to beat Hot Springs’ girls, but there was no stopping Jaylia Reed Monday night at the Trojan Arena.
The Lady Trojans’ senior guard poured in 26 points, and Hot Springs survived a second half rally by the Zebras for a 53-40 victory.
Hot Springs (10-7, 4-3) enhanced its prospects of making the postseason, and solidified its standing in the 5A South.
Despite the win, head coach Josh Smith was disturbed by his team’s lack of enthusiasm after the game.
Pine Bluff fell into a hole early
“I tried to get the girls to understand we need to celebrate this win a little,” said Smith. “You never know when your next win will be. We should be happy to have it. We play El Dorado tomorrow (Tuesday), and it should be a very similar game. It was very physical and fast-pace tonight.
“I’m proud of the girls. We got to play everybody tonight, and they all contributed in their way.”
The Trojans were facing adversity 90 seconds into the game when post Jurnee Hicks got her second foul, and went to the bench. Pine Bluff dominated the glass the next few minutes until Hicks returned to the floor.
“We told her (Hicks) to get her mind right, she was going to have to play with two fouls,” said Smith. “She played a heck’uva game, making two big 3-pointers in the second quarter. I think Jurnee finished the game with two fouls.”
Hicks contributed big for Trojans
Smith was right. Hicks finished with a double-double, 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Hot Springs was never seriously challenged despite the Zebras’ improved play the final two quarters. It was 32-17 at intermission, with Reed scoring 14 of her points.
Charlese Colen igited Pine Bluff’s rally in the third quarter with 11 of her team-high 23 points.
The two teams matched baskets the final eight minutes as the Zebras slipped to 0-8 in conference.
“Pine Bluff didn’t do a lot of trapping in the first half,” said Smith. “They mixed their defense up in the second half. They applied pressure, and we made some mistakes. Hats off to them for making the adjustments.”