HAMMOND — The Jewel Sumner girls basketball team made a vow to return to the Allstate Sugar Bowl/LHSAA Girls Top 28 and win after losing to eventual state champion University High in the semifinals a year ago.
And the second-seeded Cowgirls not only did it, they did it impressively. Sumner raced out to a 26-7 first-quarter lead on the way to a 67-43 victory over U-High in a Class 3A semifinal that helped highlight Wednesday’s action at SLU’s University Center.
“This means the world to us,” Sumner’s Bre’Ashlee Jones said of the win. “Ever since that day in the locker room last year — we made a vow we never wanted to feel that feeling any more.”
Jones scored a game-high 21 points the Cowgirls (34-0), who picked the Cubs’ zone defense apart in the first half. Sumner made 63.6 percent of its shots from the field in the opening half, compared to 16.1 percent for University (27-9), winner of the previous two 3A state titles.
Amya Brumfield (15) and Diamond Brooks (13) were other top scorers for Sumner, which has 51 of its past 52 games. U-High had eliminated Sumner the last two seasons in the playoffs.
But this time the Cowgirls advance to play fourth-seeded Parkview Baptist (25-10) in the 3A final set for 6 p.m. Saturday.
“(Sumner) came out very aggressive in the first quarter and played with confidence,” U-High coach Bonita Johnson said. “We came a little shaky, kind of unsure, and it showed. We had to fight our way back. We told the girls to cut it down to 18 or 15 going into the fourth quarter.”
Faith Kwentua led University with 11 points and a game-high 18 rebounds. Madelyn Myer added 10 points, while Kaila Anderson had eight points and seven assists.
Four 3-pointers in the first quarter helped Sumner extend its lead quickly. By halftime, JSHS’ lead had swelled to 40-13.
Changing to a man-to-man defense helped some, and the Cubs ended the third quarter on a 13-1 run and got within 18 points.
Two 3-pointers by Myer were focal points of U-High’s third-quarter run. Kwentua scored on a layup to make it 48-30 going into the final quarter.
The Cowgirls came back to outscore UHS 19-13 in the final quarter to close the game. Jones helped punctuate the win with a three-point play that made it 62-37 with 3:03 left.
Sumner coach Kara Corkern vowed her team would be ready for Parkview, a team the Cowgirls beat 44-41 on Dec. 14.
“We’ve got a different lineup and so do they,” Corkern said. “It should be a good matchup. They get to enjoy this tonight and go back to work tomorrow.”