By Anthony Rhoads
DALTON After four straight years of making it to the state basketball tournament, the Jonesboro Lady Cardinals have finally advanced to the Elite 8. The Lady Cardinals (28-2) earned a trip to the Class AAAA state quarterfinals with a 40-23 victory over Lakeside-DeKalb Friday afternoon at the Northwest Georgia Trade Center.
"It feels great to get to the elite 8," Jonesboro head coach John Kovzel said.
"It's really special." Last week, Jonesboro's offense set the pace in a 74-51 win over Rome in the first round but Friday was a different story. "We just didn't play very well," Jonesboro head coach John Kovzel said.
"When we went back into the locker room, the girls were quiet because they know they didn't play well but a win is a win.
They're not really happy with this but we'll take the win. Even though the offense sputtered, the Lady Cardinals' defense saved the day. "For them to allow just 23 points is a great defensive effort," Kovzel said.
The game was tied at 9-9 at the end of the first quarter. With 7:43 remaining in the half, Jasmine Duffey scored to give the Jonesboro an 11-9 lead.
Duffey led all scorers with 13; she was the only player to score in double figures. Jonesboro led 23-15 lead at halftime. As the buzzer sounded at the end of the third quarter, Janae Crittendon made a basket to give Jonesboro a 36-18 advantage. Jonesboro outscored Lakeside 13-4 in the third quarter.
Neither team did much offensively in the final stanza; Lakeside managed five points, while Jonesboro scored just four points.
"It feels really great but it was an ugly win," Jonesboro senior Sheena Brown said. "We're looking forward to our next game. It feels great, it really does, but it's a bittersweet win because we didn't play very good." Erica West led Lakeside with 9 points.