Lady Blue Devils are State Champs!
Despite a slow start, the Dreher Lady Blue Devils were able to turn up their defense in the second half and walk away with an 82- 50 win over Wade Hampton to claim the Class 3A Girls State Championship Saturday, March 3 at the Colonial Life Arena.
“This is very special, very special with a young group of girls that I truly love. It was a wonderful, wonderful win,” Dreher coach Teresa Jones said.
Kaydra Duckett led the Lady Blue Devils with a game- high 20 points. Johneisha Myers added 16 points, Makayla Johnson finished with 14, Jhileiya Dunlap had eight, Jazmine Robinson got seven points, Jade Nathanial finished with five, Christa Canty and Alexis McNeal got four points each, and Shaniqwa Hopkins and Danielle Pierce each added two points.
The beginning of the game did look like a potential blowout, but not in Dreher’s favor. A series of missed shots and turnovers had the Lady Blue Devils looking at a 10-point deficit midway through the first quarter. But Duckett scored her first points of the game with 1:21 left in the quarter, and that seemed to wake up the Dreher offense. Buckets from Johnson and Dunlap provided the Lady Blue Devils with momen- tum as they trimmed the deficit to six points by the end of the quarter.
That momentum carried over to the second quarter. A 10- 4 run with buckets from Duckett, Dunlap, and Robinson tied the game with 5:15 left in the half. Moments later a bucket from Johnson gave Dreher its first lead of the game. That lead grew to as many as eight before a pair of Wade Hampton free throws shrank it to six at the half.
In the third quarter, the Lady Devils turned up the pressure on defense, and Wade Hampton appeared to have no answer. A series of turnovers by the Lady Generals led to easy points for Dreher. A 10- 0 run in a two- and- a- half minute span in the middle of the third quarter grew the Lady Blue Devil lead from three points to 13. Buckets from Duckett, Dunlap, and Myers pushed the lead to 17 points at the end of the quarter.
Duckett’s offensive outburst continued in the fourth quarter. After finishing the first half with four points, she scored 16 points in the second half.
“She put on a show. I talked to her at halftime and said ‘Kaydra big time players make big time moves’. When she came back, she came back focused. I think sitting out that second quarter gave her a hunger to play in the second half,” Jones said.
In the fourth quarter, she chipped in six points to help turn the game into a blowout. Robinson, Myers, and McNeal added buckets for Dreher as the Lady Blue Devils claimed the title.
“It is wonderful to do it with this group of girls. It’s a wonderful experience for them,” Jones said.