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Defensive "Game Plan" Leads Maynard-Jackson To Win Over Dalton And GHSA 5A Elite 8

Maynard-Jackson's Aaliyah Weaver (#1) guards Dalton's Grace Ridley (#34) in the post

On Friday, the Georgia High School Association basketball state championship tournaments continued with second round action as the Maynard-Jackson Jaguars hosted the Dalton Catamounts in the girls Class 5A bracket. The Jaguars would waste no time getting momentum to swing in their direction as they got off to a 12-3 run to start the game, sparked by a Cayden Cornish (19 points) three point basket on their opening possession. Meanwhile, on the defensive end of the court, Maynard Jackson worked to keep Dalton’s Grace Ridley from getting active in the post and would close out the period with a 13-6 lead.

The second quarter would see the Jaguars continue to control the game as they would patiently move the ball on offense and finding the shots that they desired, meanwhile while Ridley finished with 17 points to lead the Catamounts in scoring, the Jaguars defense limited Dalton from getting any production from the rest of the team as Cadence Blackwell would be second in scoring with nine points. The third and fourth quarters would see Maynard-Jackson getting stronger and more confident as the game continued and Dalton unable to find a rhythm offensively, leading to the Jaguars 66-41 win to advance to the quarterfinals.

“Our game plan is defense every night,” Maynard-Jackson assistant coach, in for head coach, Michelle Powell, Maurice Miles, said following the win on Saturday. Understanding that opposing teams may know the Jaguars for what they can manufacture offensively, Miles noted that the Jaguars defense plays a big role in creating opportunities on offense. “People see a lot of the three point shooting that we do, but we usually play a really good amount of defense to be able to get to those three pointers. It came through tonight so I’m real proud of them,” Miles said. Now with their focus shifting to Union Grove in the Elite 8, Miles says that while the Jaguars played well on defense, they still have a particular area he wants them to clean up.

“We have to do a better job of staying out of foul trouble early. If we get in foul trouble, it changes the way we have to play. We did a better job the second half, but we can do better. We still have a lot of improvement to do,” Miles added.


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