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Dawkins has been Jonesboro’s inside force

Photo by Derrick Mahone
Jonesboro center Kim Dawkins has been a big reason the team is ranked No. 2 in the state and riding an 11-game winning streak into today’s Class AAAA second round playoff game against No. 3 Statesboro.

Photo by Derrick Mahone Jonesboro center Kim Dawkins has been a big reason the team is ranked No. 2 in the state and riding an 11-game winning streak into today’s Class AAAA second round playoff game against No. 3 Statesboro.

With each rebound, point and blocked shot, Jonesboro coach Michael House can see the confidence grow within starting center Kimberly Dawkins.

And Dawkins says she can sense the confidence that her teammates are starting to have in her.

Since the second-ranked Lady Cardinals employ a four-guard starting lineup, Dawkins has to do the majority of the work in the paint. At 6 feet 1, she is the tallest player on the team.

“Her role is very important for our team,” senior Alexcia Cross said. “We are a small team with four guards, so we need for Kim to play big in the middle. She is giving us a good effort and some consistency.”

Said Dawkins: “I see where they have learned to trust me. There was that period of adjustment.”

The Lady Cardinals will need another big effort from Dawkins when they host third-ranked Statesboro tonight at 6 p.m. The Lady Blue Devils will counter with Sierra Kirkland and Alisia Jenkins, a pair of 6-1 post players.

“We need for Kim to continue to give us some front-line production,” House said. “She has been a real dominant player for us this season. Over the course of the season, she has developed into a strong post player. We have tried to feed the post. She offers a lot to this team.”

Dawkins and the Lady Cardinals will have their hands full tonight against Statesboro, which has advanced to the Class AAAA quarterfinals the last two seasons.

In the Lady Blue Devils’ 72-62 win over Lee County on Friday, Jenkins had a game-high 25 points with 13 rebounds while Kirkland added 13 points for the Region 2-AAAA runner-up.

Last season, Dawkins was a member of the Lovejoy team that advanced to the state tournament while Jonesboro sat at home.

She has been a welcomed addition to the Jonesboro squad, which is playing in the state tournament for the first time since the 2009 season.

“I have to continue to do the things that I’ve been doing all season,” Dawkins said. “I have to dominate in getting points, rebounds or blocked shots.”

Statesboro at Jonesboro

When: Tonight, 6 p.m.

Records, rankings: Statesboro is 26-2 and ranked No. 3 in Class AAAA; Jonesboro is 23-5 and ranked No. 2.

What’s next: Winner takes on the Fayette County/Northside-Warner Robins winner at Fort Valley State in the quarterfinals.