Thursday, March 1, 2012

Manassas rolls to second straight region crown


Manassas center Jamie Bond is known primarily for her prolific shot-blocking ability.

But with time winding down in the third quarter Wednesday night in the championship game of the Region 8-AA girls basketball tournament, the 6-2 center stepped back beyond the arc, threw up a desperation heave with Oakhaven’s Asia Woodall closely guarding her, and banked in a 3-point basket that gave the Lady Tigers a commanding 19-point advantage heading into the fourth.

Manassas went on to defeat Oakhaven in convincing fashion, 74-46, at Mitchell High’s Andre Turner Arena to claim their second consecutive region title. However, to get a clear indication of just how fun this season has been for the Lady Tigers, Bond provided a demonstration with her unlikely shot.

“She has a knack for doing that,” Manassas coach Tommy Warren said of Bond’s trey. “She does that a lot in practice. I have confidence in her taking that shot.”

Most importantly, Warren is confident his more experienced Lady Tigers (30-3), who had their season cut short in the quarterfinals of the Class AA state tournament last year, are capable of advancing even farther this time around.

For the third straight year, the Lady Tigers will have a shot of advancing to Murfreesboro. Manassas will host Covington Saturday night at 7 in the Class AA sectional after the Lady Chargers lost to Obion County Central, 49-44.

Just as they have done throughout the postseason, Manassas managed to dictate the flow of the game against the opposition by using its size advantage, athleticism, and transition offense to wear down the Lady Hawks. It also helped that the Lady Tigers enjoyed a balanced offensive attack as four players scored in double figures against Oakhaven (18-10).

“Right now, people are respecting us,” Bond said. “We looked on the internet and a couple of people in Dyersburg said, ‘If you try to run with Manassas, you’re going to get beat.”

That is essentially how Wednesday’s contest played out, as the Lady Tigers extended their winning streak to 20 games.

Tiffany Jones scored a game-high 21 points, Bond scored 14, Jamille Reed (Most Outstanding Player) had 13, and Denise Johnson added 10 for Manassas.

Derica Wiggins’ 22 points led Oakhaven, which travels to Obion Central in Saturday’s sectional round.

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