By Doug Gorman
The Jonesboro Lady Cardinals probably don't need too much motivation heading into tonight's game against Mays in a contest that will decide the Region 5-AAAA East subregion champ.
It was just a little more than a week ago when Mays rallied from behind to beat Jonesboro 42-38 in the regular-season finale on the Lady Cardinals' own floor.
After leading most of the contest, Jonesboro hit an offensive lull in the fourth quarter and were outscored by Mays 16-6 in the final eight minutes.
"We have to play four quarters of basketball this time and stay out of foul trouble," said Jonesboro head coach John Kovzel.
Tonight's game tips off at 6 p.m. at Mt. Zion High School. Both teams have already clinched a spot at the state tournament and will play next week in a Region 5-AAAA tournament at South Atlanta High School for seeding.
The top two seeds from each region will play host to a first-round state tournament game.
The Lady Cardinals are headed back to the state tournament for the fourth straight year.
Kovzel gives credit to his assistant coaches Jamie Horton, Frank Trucks and Jed Greene for helping turn the Lady Cardinals into a state contender.
"As head coach, I get a lot of the credit, but they do a lot of the work that goes unnoticed," he said.
"They do a lot of scouting in order to get us ready to play each week. A couple of times, they have missed our own games so they could scout upcoming opponents."
Jonesboro spent most of the season ranked No. 1 in the Class AAAA state basketball poll. The Lady Cardinals opened the season with 17 straight victories, before falling to North Atlanta 46-31 midway through the season.
The Lady Cardinals then won five straight games before dropping the contest to Mays.
There are no longer any secretes between the two schools as this is the third meeting of the year between them.
Jonesboro held off Mays 41-40 in the first meeting between the two schools.
In addition to losing to Jonesboro once in league play, Mays also lost twice to Southwest DeKalb.
In their last meeting, Nikitta Caldwell scored 14 points to pace Mays.
Jawanda Duffey added 13 to lead the Lady Cardinals.