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Jonesboro girls outlast Howard, advance to Final Four
by Maurice Dixon
February 27, 2013 01:12 AM | 2246 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Staff / Katherine Frye<br>From left, Jonesboro seniors Victoria Florence and Kimberly Dawkins who helped the Lady Cardinals defeat Howard in the Elite Eight on Tuesday.
Staff / Katherine Frye
From left, Jonesboro seniors Victoria Florence and Kimberly Dawkins who helped the Lady Cardinals defeat Howard in the Elite Eight on Tuesday.
After clinging to just a one-point lead at the end of the third quarter, Jonesboro went on an 11-3 run to pull away from Howard and advance to the Class AAAA Final Four for the second consecutive season with a 51-39 home victory Tuesday.

Briana Benson scored 16 points, Michaelle Smith added 12 and Raven Wynn finished with 10 in the Lady Cardinals’ 23rd straight win. On Saturday, Jonesboro will face Columbia, which routed River Ridge 68-27, at Fort Valley State.

After Wynn made the first basket of the final quarter, Howard’s Chasma Hart responded with a 3-pointer to tie the score at 36 apiece with 7:14 left. But the Lady Huskies wouldn’t have any answers for the Lady Cardinals in the following 4 ½ minutes.

First, Benson scored a basket and followed that with three free throws. Then, Victoria Florence (seven points) got a reverse layup to roll in, and after a Jonesboro timeout, Benson made another basket for a 45-36 lead with 2:45 remaining.

“Briana Benson is the biggest point guard in the county,” Jonesboro girls' basketball coach Lamar Harris said. “She enjoys the pressure. She wants to prove that she can go with the best of them.”

To seal things, Wynn would convert a layup with 2:10 left and nail a pair of foul shots along with Florence with less than a minute to go.

Kimberly Dawkins grabbed 17 rebounds – 12 offensive – made five steals and blocked three shots. Smith added 11 boards and four steals for the Lady Cardinals, who led by as many as seven points in the contest and never trailed by more than three points.

“That is what we expect out of them each and every game,” Harris said. “They bang and take pride in getting those offensive and defensive rebounds. We got a lot of shooters and sometimes our guards put up a lot of shots so they know if they want to score they got to go get a rebound and put it back.”

“My main goal is to get the rebound and put it in the basket,” Smith said. “I’m just doing it for the team and to help us win a championship.”

Va'Queshia Hall and Erica Moore both scored 11 points to lead Howard.

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