BRANDON — Harrison Central needed someone to step up in a close game Friday night against Brandon with a trip to the MHSAA State Tournament semifinals on the line, so it turned to the team's only senior.
JeMya Evans scored eight of her game-high 17 points in the final quarter, as Harrison Central erased a one-point, third-quarter deficit to clinch a 60-50 win over Brandon.
"I told our team at halftime that we weren't going to win if we didn't play with grit," Harrison Central coach Nancy Ladner said. "You either play hard or you go home. We don't want to go home crying like we did last year. But we came out tonight and played with intensity and hustle and responded when I told them you either have to play with grit, or we're going home."
The Red Rebelettes (16-7) trailed for most of the night. They blew an early 8-4 lead and trailed 15-13 after one quarter and 30-27 at the half.
They fell back behind by eight in the third quarter, but got right back into it with back-to-back layups and a three-pointer from Khyla Ragins and went into the fourth quarter trailing 41-40.
Evans went off in the final period. She made three buckets in the Red Rebelettes' first four trips down the floor, fueling a 12-0 run that put the game out of reach. When Brandon started fouling out of desperation and to get the ball back, Harrison Central shooters made 7 of 10 free throws down the stretch.
"JeMya has meant a lot to this team because she's our only senior and she's provided that leadership the team needs," Ladner said. "We are a young group, but we've got a lot of players who can contribute and it seems like someone different steps up every night."
On Friday it was Evans, who finished with 17 points. Ragins added 14 points and Laila Walker scored 12.
The loss ended the season for Brandon (21-5) and ended a five-game winning streak that dates back to January.
Lady Bulldogs' guard Gabrielle Collier led all scorers with 20 points. Tandria Minor chipped in 10.
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