(Photo by Chris Pobst, Staff)
CHARLESTON -- For senior Jerquawnda Sherrell, Thursday night was her night. Senior night was her time to represent just how far the Charleston Lady Bluejays have come in her four years.
She relished in her moment.
"I was going to show people that I could shoot, dribble and pass it," Sherrell said. "I tried to do a little bit of everything just to show people how much we have matured and improved from our freshman year."
Sherrell led the Lady Bluejays with 22 points, seven assists and hit five 3-pointers in their 70-60 win against the visiting Sikeston Lady Bulldogs. She also took it upon herself to halt a Lady Bulldog comeback late in the fourth quarter.
"I knew that we were all going to play together," Sherrell said. "We were just going to keep playing hard."
Just because it was Charleston's senior night didn't mean the Lady Bulldogs were going to roll over. Especially after being down by as much as 21 points in the third quarter. Sikeston clawed their way back enough to cut the deficit to just five points with just over two minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. Two huge 3-pointers from the bench in the form of Shataria Flye made it a 63-58 lead in favor of Charleston.
"That was a big spot and some big shots," Sikeston head coach Homer Jackson said. "She came through."
The Lady Bulldogs went on a 21-6 run to open the final period and looked to be in great shape for possibly their biggest upset win in recent memory.
In steps Sherrell.
Sherrell drained her fifth 3-pointer of the night just seconds after Flye cut it to five points. A steal by junior Jasmine Spence and a basket by sophomore Kasuela Cooper all but ended Sikeston's hopes.
"They give us every bit of what we wanted," Charleston head coach Michael Minner said. "We had spurts throughout when we had them gassed and we had them beat. All we had to do was put them away. But, we didn't do it."
Sikeston was able to limit their turnovers in the fourth quarter and significantly cut down on their own. The Lady Bulldogs also had the steady steady pace of sophomore Asia Liggins keeping them afloat.
"We just quit playing," said Minner. "We didn't rebound, we kept turning it over and you can't do that. They got the ball inside and they hit some shots and forced us to not play the way we want to play. We're lucky to get out of here with a win."
Liggins finished with a game-high 28 points and had 14 rebounds. Senior Tyanne Townsend helped out with 12 points as well.
"I thought we did a good job of stopping our turnovers," said Jackson. "We got the ball in spots that it needed to be and we got it to people who can score. We tried to take it out of the hands of their scorers as well. That was the difference there."
Although not a senior, Cooper made her presence felt as well. She was Charleston's second leading scorer with 20 points and was a force under the rim with 15 rebounds. Senior Ashley McCatrey added 10 points while another senior, Chelsie Lane chipped in eight.
All five of Charleston's seniors -- Sherrell, McCatrey, Lane, Victoria Smith and Jalisa Bogan -- got the start for the Lady Bluejays. After suffering through dismal seasons early in their career's they know it's either now or never to make something happen.
"Our freshman year we thought we would never be good," said Sherrell. "But, we worked hard for this year. It was all about our senior year and we were going to make some changes. That's what we're trying to do."
SIKESTON (60) -- Tyanne Townsend 12, Darquesha Howard 2, Asia Liggins 28, Shateria Flye 8, Shaela Draper 1, Jerrica Taylor 3, Tanesha Pulley 6. FG 25 FT 8-17 F 12. (3-pointers: Flye 2. Fouled out: none.)
CHARLESTON (70) -- Jerquawnda Sherrell 22, Chelsie Lane 8, Taylor Duenne 5, Kasuela Cooper 20, Ashley McCatrey 10, Jasmine Spence 3, Eneikqua Ewing 2. FG 30 FT 4-15 F 19. (3-pointers: Sherrell 5, Duenne 1. Fouled out: none.)