University High assistant Susan Gremillion ran her record to 2-0 for the week as a pinch hitter for head coach Bonita Johnson as the U-High Lady Cubs celebrated their first year playing in the Coca Cola-EBR Girls Tournament with a 39-34 win over Broadmoor for the tournament title.
Johnson missed the semifinals and finals with a family emergency, and Gremillion and the Lady Cubs responded with a 64-58 win over Scotlandville in the semifinals and a tough win over a determined Broadmoor team for the top trophy.
“There’s always a team called the ‘Cardiac Kids,’ and I think we might get that label this year,” Gremillion said. “I can’t exactly tell you what was going through my mind when they got close (within five points with 1:00 left in the game), I knew we just had to settle down, get back to what we’d been doing and execute better. We knew what they wanted to do and they knew what we wanted to do and tonight we just did what we needed to win.”
The Cubs collected 12 points from the free-throw line, including seven in the frantic fourth quarter.
U-High (12-1) also had five turnovers in the final quarter, and Asia Hayes’ basket pulled the Bucs within five at 33-28. After a U-High timeout, the Cubs got a basket from Destiny Ephron and clutch free throws from Chelsea Verette and Kaila Anderson to match Broadmoor 6-6 the rest of the way.
“They (Broadmoor) were very physical,” Anderson said. “We knew they were going to play tough defense and not give anything easy.
“I like that kind of game. I like the challenge. I’m the point guard, and I feel like I have to be a leader on the floor.”
Anderson was one of three Cubs in double figures with 10 points, just behind Verette and Ephron who each scored 11.
Honchea Thornton had 10 points for Broadmoor (9-4), followed by Mikayla Crockett with 10 and Hayes with eight.
Thornton and teammate Samira Irvin missed the last 1:38 of the first quarter when both were injured on the same play in a scramble under the U-High basket. They both returned and played the rest of the way.
“We believe we can play with anybody,” Broadmoor coach Terrence Gillette said. “In fact, we believe we can beat anybody. Coming down the stretch, if we’d made a few more stops and a few more shots, it might have been a different story.
“But what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. This kind of game will help us later in district and playoffs.”
Gremillion was impressed with not only her team’s success but also with the tournament itself.
“Bonita and I have been to a lot of tournaments in all the years we’ve been coaching,” she said, “this is the best one we’ve been to, fantastic from top to bottom. The host school (Tara) did a great job with hospitality.
“When we got the invitation, we gladly accepted and changed our schedule to make it happen.”
Scotlandville took third place in the tournament with a 53-38 win over Belaire. The Lady Hornets held the lead most of the way, but couldn’t pull away from the scrappy Lady Bengals until late in the third quarter when they went up 49-35 with two minutes left.
Justice Coleman and Taylor Holliday had 16 points apiece for Scotlandville, and Celica Sterling chipped in 10.
Chelsea Smith scored 15 for Belaire, including two first-quarter 3-point baskets.
The all-tournament team will be announced early next week.