High School Sports

Inspired by her sister, Savannah Jones sparks all-star team

AMANDA McCOY/SUN HERALD 
 Gulfport's Jatiah Lathan, right, guards while St. Martin's Savannah Jones takes a shot during the South Mississippi All-Starr Showcase on Thursday, May 26, 2016, at St. Martin High.
AMANDA McCOY/SUN HERALD Gulfport's Jatiah Lathan, right, guards while St. Martin's Savannah Jones takes a shot during the South Mississippi All-Starr Showcase on Thursday, May 26, 2016, at St. Martin High. SUN HERALD

ST. MARTIN -- St. Martin's Savannah Jones played for her sister Thursday, sinking eight 3-pointers and scoring 39 points as an undermanned Home team held off the Away team 72-70 in the South Mississippi All-Star Showcase girls senior game.Friday night the underclassmen take the court with the girls game starting at 6 p.m.

Sierra Jones, 19, died two months ago in car accident while going to Southern Mississippi.

"We were really close, best friends," Savannah Jones said, describing her sister as "funny, goofy, and smart."

"I wanted to have a good game for her. I played to make her happy. I just know she was with me tonight. I wanted to make her proud."

Jones, who was named game MVP, came out hot, hitting her first two 3-point attempts in the first two minutes of the game.

Behind Jones' shooting the Home team jumped out to a 14-0 lead before West Harrison's Ameshya Williams put the Away stars on the board with 2:07 left in the first quarter.

The Home team led 18-4 at the end of the first stanza, with Williams getting both Away buckets.

However, due to injuries, graduations, and a few no-shows, the Home team started with just six players. Jones was joined by fellow Yellow Jackets Deonna Morgan and Mercedes Brown. George County's Asia Riley, Harrison Central's Adyn Strickland and Pascagoula's Chabrevia McMillan rounded out the Home team.

Away, on the other hand, started with 10 players.

"We got tired," admitted Jones.

Away took advantage of its ability to substitute and rest in the second and fourth quarters.

In the second, Williams, with six points, and Gulfport's Jatiah Lathan, with five points, came close to erasing Home's 14-point lead, bringing Away to within one at the half, 27-26.

Home used the 3-pointer in the third quarter to pull back out to a nine-point lead, 54-45, as Jones sank three treys and McMillan two.

In the final quarter, though, Away showed their depth as Hattiesburg's Tamia Stinson scored 11 to lead an Away comeback.

Stinson hit a pair of free throws with just over a minute left and Williams hit a lay-up with 50 seconds left, cutting Home's lead to 72-70.

However, that would be the as close as Away could get as they missed their last four shots, including a trey attempt with 20 seconds left to play.

"I was really proud of the way the girls played in the last five minutes," said Biloxi coach Scott Landry, who coaches the Away team. "We had a good look at a 3-pointer at the end, but it didn't go in."

Landry said only having six players -- three from the same team and playing on their home court -- may have actually helped.

"We had a lot of players who had never played together," he said. "They had familiarity with each other we didn't."

"We got tired," Jones said, "but coach (St. Martin's Robin Sykes) had a good plan for us."

McMillan finished with 15 for Home. Williams and Stinson scored 19 each for Away.

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