NORTH VERNON —
“They led us to here. Nobody ever thought we would be 17-6,” Warren said. “We hate to lose, but there is no sense of walking out of that locker room with their heads down because they accomplished way more than anybody thought they would. I’m proud of them. We have a lot to look forward to in the future.”
The Red Devils ended archrival New Albany’s season on Saturday morning with a 46-38 semifinal win. It was Jeff’s second victory over the Bulldogs this year, as it increased its lead in the all-time series to 41-32.
Warren got his players’ attention when he called a 30-second timeout at the 2:23 mark of the first quarter following a layup by New Albany junior Brianne Nixon to cut the Red Devils’ lead to 8-6.
“We did a good job of warming up. I thought we were ready,” Warren said. “But in the sectional, you can’t really wait around and hope things happen. I wanted to make sure that everybody was clear on what we were doing, and they were. Once we burned that timeout, we really started executing and did a good job.”
After the timeout, Jeff went on a 16-2 run to go up 24-8 at halftime. Sophomore Aaliyah Bell scored the first six points of the second half to pull the Bulldogs (8-13) within 10 points at 24-14, but Jeff responded with a 9-0 spurt to take its largest lead of the game at 33-14 with 2:34 left in the third.
New Albany, though, did not give up.
Trailing 36-21 at the start of the fourth, the Bulldogs chipped their deficit down to 39-33 with 2:07 left in regulation when junior Lauren Camm nailed a 3-pointer from the right corner.
With Jeff still up six at 41-35 with 48.6 seconds remaining, Bell hit 1-of-2 free throws to get New Albany within five.