MILLEDGEVILLE, Ga. — Westside’s Jahmia Bradley had a bad headache before her teams’ Class AAA quarterfinal game Saturday night.
By the end of the game, however, the headache belonged to her opponent, Hephzibah.
Bradley scored 15 of her 17 points in the second half to lead the Lady Patriots to a 53-46 win, giving them a spot in the final four to be played next week in Macon.
“I felt pretty bad in the first half and didn’t really do much,” said Bradley, who is only a sophomore. “My coaches all told me it was time to forget not feeling good and just go play basketball and that’s what I tried to do. The team needed me to step up and thankfully I was able to do so.”
Hephzibah was the Cinderella story coming into the quarterfinals, having beat two higher seeds to get to this point. Hephzibah led after the first quarter by four behind the hot shooting of Queen Glenn and then upped the lead to 24-19 at the half. Glenn scored seven points in the first half, while freshman Shashana Miller added six. No one could get much going for Westside as Ritzy Griffin had eight of her team’s 19 points.
“I had to challenge them at halftime,” said Westside coach Ivory Hugee. “I just let them know that I didn’t think we had played with much energy and that we had to get back to what we do well, which is try and get the ball inside. This team does a great job of trying to do what we want them to do.”
The Lady Patriots were the aggressor in the second half, scoring the first six points of the quarter to take their first lead of the game at 25-24. They upped that lead to 37-32 behind six consecutive points from Bradley and looked as if they were in control.
But the Lady Rebels tied the game early in the fourth quarter at 38 on a Shanice Williams basket. Seconds later Miller scored to give Hephzibah its last lead of the game with a little over five minutes left. Westside closed out the game with a 15-6 run, with Bradley scoring eight of those.
Westside’s Azia Gibson had 13 rebounds for the game as the Lady Patriots outrebounded Hephzibah 21-11 in the second half.
“It’s a great thrill for us to make it to the final four, and to win against a great program like Hephzibah,” Hugee said. “Their coach, Wendell Lofton, is a legend, and I knew he would have his team ready to play. I used to coach at Hephzibah and I told him after the game that he taught me everything I know. I have no doubt he will make it back here very soon.”