Saturday was a great day to be a Huntsville-based team in Birmingham. In total, Mae Jemison and Lee’s teams outscored opponents 143 to 62 at Bill Harris Arena, each earning a trip to the state finals.
During the first game of the day, Jemison took down the defending 5A state champion Charles Henderson Trojans by 39 points, putting on a show on both ends of the court.
With an emphasis on defense, the Jaguars started the game with 17 unanswered points, allowing just three points in the first quarter and only nine in the first half.
Jemison held the 2020 5A champs to only three made field goals in the first half and only 13 total on 66 shots -- keeping them under 20% from the field for the game.
Head coach Sherell Robertson said that was all part of their goal.
“Our game plan was to make them shoot jump shots and shoot over us. I think we did a great job of that, we just have to stay focused because it’s not over, we want to be state champions and we have to work hard and continue to stay focused to win that,” she said.
The Jags also clicked on offense, knocking down 60% of their shots -- including three 3-pointers from both Lesiah Rogers and Saniah Parker.
Parker finished the game with 23 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists. After the dominating win, she expressed confidence in her team.
“I think we just need to keep playing hard and work together as a team, we got this,” she said.
Jemison will play for the title on Thursday. The team most recently won in 1985, when the school still went by J.O. Johnson.
Lee also dominated, defeating Sylacauga by 42 points (67-25) to book their first trip to the finals since 2015.
Before leaving the game with a knee injury, Lee’s Kaleb Brown could not be stopped. Brown only played seven minutes, scoring 10 points on 4-5 shooting, including two 3-pointers.
After the win, he said the knee is sore, but he has every intention of playing during the title game on Thursday.
“It’s the last game, all or nothing,” Brown said. “It’s the last game we’ve got of the season, so we’ve got to put our all into it.”
Even with Brown on the sidelines, the Generals had no problem with Henry Lee, Ryan Anderson, Taye Fields and Dexter Smith all putting up double-digit points as Lee rolled over the Aggies.
Looking ahead to the title game, head coach Greg Brown said his team should stay consistent.
“I liked the performance we had today,” he said. “I think we did it -- we did it the right way, we did it with class and I’m big about class. I think we just have to go back to the drawing board and have those productive practices leading up to the championship.”
With a win, Lee would clinch the school’s third-ever title and first since 2010.