D'IBERVILLE -- Late in the third quarter Friday night, St. Martin's Savannah Jones stepped up and knocked down a deep 3 over two Ocean Springs defenders.
The long-range shot elicited a smile from St. Martin coach Gina Bell as she looked up at the scoreboard with the lead comfortably in hand.
No. 1 St. Martin and No. 6 Ocean Springs went toe to toe in their first two meetings of the season, with the two games decided by three total points.
The trend didn't carry over to the post-season meeting Friday as the Lady Yellow Jackets closed out a dominating 61-39 performance at D'Iberville High School to secure the Region 7-6A Tournament Championship.
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The win marked the Lady Yellow Jackets' third straight region tournament championship, their 24th straight region win and gave them a first-round bye in the Class 6A playoffs.
"That's her. As soon as she hit that one we knew she was in the zone and there was no turning back," Bell said of Jones, who finished with 24 points. "I think every 3 she hit was at least three feet behind the line."
St. Martin (26-2) didn't always have command of Friday's game.
Both teams made runs throughout the first half. The Lady Yellow Jackets opened up a 19-9 lead after the first quarter, but the Lady Greyhounds (18-8) clawed back into the game in the second quarter with a 13-4 run to bring the score to 26-22 St. Martin.
The top-ranked Lady Yellow Jackets responded late in the frame with a 7-0 run, including a Jones 3-pointer seconds before the buzzer, to take a 32-22 lead into halftime.
Bell credited guard Deona Morgan stepping up as making a big difference in the outcome of the game. While OSHS tried to limit Jones and White, Morgan was able to spring free and convert her opportunities to finish with 19 points.
"Both teams were well prepared prepared. I know they focused a lot on Savannah and Daphane. Deona comes in and it's hard to cover a team that has three really good players," Bell said. "Deona was that third person tonight and made a lot of good stuff happen."
Both teams traded shots early in the second half, but Jones' 3 helped spark a 9-0 run to close the period 48-28 in St. Martin's favor.
"Defensively we didn't do our job," OSHS coach LaShonda Smith said. "We knew that Savannah and Deona were pretty good scorers and we didn't make their shots tough enough. We didn't make their catches tough enough. We usually do a pretty good."
Blackston ended up leading OSHS with 13 points. With the loss, Ocean Springs will host Biloxi on Monday, while St. Martin gets a first-round bye.
Following the game, the All-Region selections were announced.
D'Iberville's Casey Ferguson, Blackston, Jones, Morgan and White all made the first team.
George County's Riley Asia, Fredricka Dortch and Marshea Grayson, as well as Ocean Springs' Whitney Gipson and Dougless St. Amant all made the second team.
White, who finished Friday with 10 rebounds and 15 blocks, also earned 7-6A Defensive Player of the Year honors. Ferguson and Blackston split the Offensive Player of the Year award. Jones was named the 7-6A MVP and Bell earned the 7-6A Coach of the Year award.