After falling to Eagles Landing in early December by a 56-50 score, the Lady Knights’ season stood in the balance in a Region 4 Tournament game against the Lady Golden Eagles at Jonesboro High School on Saturday. Unfortunately for Upson-Lee, after leading 15-12 in the first quarter, the Lady Knights were outscored 28-16 in the second quarter, and never recovered.
Upson-Lee scored a season high in points in the contest, but it wasn’t enough in the end. The Lady Golden Eagles drilled eight three-pointers in the game, defeating Upson-Lee by a 75-63 score.
“It’s a shame that our season had to end that way,” said Lady Knights head coach Bart Phillips. “Knowing that the game was win or go home, we seemed like we didn’t care anything about being there. It’s a shame for our school and members of our team which do care about Lady Knights basketball. Until some of the girls start to buy-in into something bigger than themselves, we will continue to struggle. I told the girls all season long that until they become accountable for each other, it’s going to be tough to win. Every good program out there plays as a team, and they hold each other accountable. They buy-in into something they believe in.
“That means not missing practices or a shoot around prior to game. It means the upper-class players assert themselves as leaders and get other teammates to buy-in into a system and a program. Again, I’m not talking about all of the players, but their are some who play for the name on the back of their jerseys rather than the name on the front, and those players may not be around next season. I feel like we have some talent on this team to win ball games, but until we can get seven, eight, or nine players who want to commit to Upson-Lee Lady Knights basketball, we will continue to struggle, no matter how talented we are.”
Other than the second quarter, the Lady Knights played Eagles Landing evenly. However, the 12-point deficit in the second quarter (28-16), ended up being the 12-point deficit in the game.
Kiashona Carter paced the Lady Knights with 14 points, while Kia Willis netted 13 points. Alexus Holston also reached double figures with 10 points, while senior Keondra Ausbrooks scored nine points in the final high school game of her career. Freshman Kyjha Kendall tallied seven points and grabbed nine rebounds, Laquasha Hutcherson added six points, while Jaleesa Gibson and Keera McMillion each chipped in with two points in the season ending loss.