The Pine Bluff Fillies defeated the Sheridan Lady Yellowjackets 60-36 Tuesday night inside the McFadden Gymnasium.
“I guess (Alabama football head coach) Nick Saban brought us some luck tonight,” Pine Bluff head coach Loy Moore said. “Maybe he should come with us on Friday, too.”
Saban was in the stands on the opposite side of the player benches near half court. He was apparently in town to watch Pine Bluff’s Will Gragg, who plays tight end for the Zebras, in the boys’ game.
“I thought we took control early on and we really did a great job rebounding,” Moore said. “We got a lot of second and third shots.”
Sheridan (8-7, 3-3 7A/6A South) had trimmed the deficit to 15-14 with less than six minutes left to play in the first half, but an 11-2 run by Pine Bluff (14-5, 4-2) broke the game wide open.
“Credit to Pine Bluff,” Sheridan head coach Brian Davenport said. “Defensively, they did a great job keeping us out of rhythm with what we wanted to do.
“We never did respond to the challenge. We just kind of let them dictate and control everything we did.”
Pine Bluff junior Jasmyn Eckermann scored seven of her game-high 18 points in the first quarter and give the Fillies a 13-8 lead.
“I thought we did a decent job on Ajia (Richardson) but Eckermann hurt us early,” Davenport said.
Eckermann scored the game’s first five points.
“Even when she wasn’t scoring, we put her in a playmaker role,” Moore said. “She just got into a good rhythm, which is good because we’ve been struggling to get into a rhythm.
“So it was good to see that tonight.”
With 4:09 left in the first half, Eckermann scored on a jumper to give the Fillies a 21-14 lead. A bucket by Jalan Williams off a turnover gave Pine Bluff a 23-14 lead with 3:23 left.
Following a basket by Sheridan, Eckermann hit a three-pointer from the top of the key with less than a minute left to give Pine Bluff a 10-point lead. By the end of the first half, the Fillies led 27-19.
“They controlled the boards and they controlled us defensively,” Davenport said. “Credit to coach Moore and Pine Bluff. He did a great job of having them ready.”
Richardson finished with 11 points for Pine Bluff.
“We got into a rhythm in the second half,” Moore said. “Hopefully the shooting slump is over.
“We had been struggling and we did a better job tonight. We’ve been getting good looks but just haven’t put the ball in the hole.”
Sophomore Bailey Richardson led Sheridan with 14 points.
“They took control of the game and put a lot of pressure on us,” Davenport said. “We turned the ball over and just didn’t respond like we should.”
Moore was also pleased with the free-throw shooting, despite the fact that Pine Bluff made just 10 of 18 from the line.
“At El Dorado, we shot 25 percent (from the line),” Moore said. “We were 10 of 18 (tonight) and that’s over 50. I’ll take it after shooting 25 percent.
“That’s not good, but it is better than what we had been doing.”
Pine Bluff will travel to face conference leader Benton on Friday. Sheridan will host Texarkana.