PELAHATCHIE – The Starkville Academy girls' basketball team has become accustomed to winning this year.
That didn't change Friday afternoon as they beat Jackson Academy 34-30 in overtime to advance to the Class AAA State Championship game.
The Lady Volunteers trailed 20-12 entering the fourth quarter. They exploded on offense with 18 points.
With 6:44 to go in the game, Starkville Academy trailed 22-12. By the time there was 2:05 to go, it only trailed by seven at 30-23.
The Lady Vols eventually tied it and and outscored JA 4-0 in the extra frame to get the win.
"All of a sudden it was tied and then it was over," Starkville Academy head coach Glenn Schmidt said. "We were pressing. Jackson Academy was stunned. Our guards were able to get some deflections and steals and get easy baskets."
The first three quarters saw defensive struggle.
At the end of first quarter, SA led 6-5. Jackson Academy took a 12-10 lead into the locker room at halftime.
"(In) the first three quarters, there wasn't a lot of offense," Schmidt said. "JA plays better defense than anybody we play. They play like we want to play. They are bigger and stronger."
The Lady Vols had 13 steals to JA's two. They also blocked two shots while JA had none.
Schmidt had a feeling that could not be described after the game. She was shocked. She compared the game to a backyard game that players play over and over in their minds.
"It was a dream game," Schmidt said. "It's one you win a thousand times in your mind."
Sallie Kate Richardson led SA with 17 points.
The Lady Vols are back in action today when they play Madison Ridgeland Academy at 2:15 p.m. for the Class AAA State Championship.
MRA beat Jackson Prep 41-27 in the other semifinal.