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Summit girls hold on to advance to state final

3/2/2012

AUSTIN, Texas -- When it came down to it, Mansfield Summit had the upper hand by simply possessing the ball.

Summit ran off almost a minute of the clock at the end of Thursday’s 4A girls state semifinal to secure a 40-37 win over Mont Belvieu Barbers Hill and punch its ticket to the 4A state final.

Summit also did everything it could to keep the ball out of 6-foot-4 Barbers Hill center Kendall Shaw, with a big helping hand from Jazzmin Jackson.

Jackson, listed at 5-foot-9, held Shaw to just 13 points on the night while picking up a double-double of her own with 10 points and 10 rebounds.

Her play had coach Tammy Lusinger thinking Jackson might have grown a few inches overnight.

"We were trying to put a lot of pressure on [Shaw], making passing into her difficult," Lusinger said. "J.J. is one of the best rebounders I've ever coached. She uses her maximum from head to toe and she is one who has learned to fight through adversity."

While both teams had several streaks of excellent shooting throughout the game, it took a quarter for both to shake off the jitters and find their touch.

"This is a huge stadium and we had a lot of fans out there, so we were nervous," Summit's Ashley Eli said. "But the court was as big as it is at high schools, so we tried to keep that in our mind."

Eli was the first to catch fire, scoring 10 of her 13 points in the second quarter.

Barbers Hill put together a 9-2 run to start the fourth quarter and regained the lead on a Shaw layup, but Jackson stepped up again late in the game to help Summit regain the lead with a shot and a free throw to make it 39-37.

Summit found itself with the ball with a minute left in the game and a two-point lead and weathered the storm of having to take three more fouls before entering the bonus.

"Just trying to get the ball inbounds was the biggest headache," Lusinger said, "but after that we spread the court pretty well."

In the end, a free throw by Eli with four seconds remaining sealed the game.

Summit plays another Metroplex team, Rockwall, in the 4A state final, Saturday at 3:30 p.m.