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Class 4A Girls Finals Deshler 70, Jacksonville 57

   Deshler raced to a 43-18 halftime lead, then weathered two strong Jacksonville rallies in the second  half to capture the Class 4A girls state basketball championship with a 70-57 win Friday night at the BJCC Legacy Arena.
    Lauren Cantrell scored 20 points, had five rebounds and five steals to lead the Tigers (34-2). It was clutch free-throw shooting, 12-of-13 for the game, that helped Coach Jana Killen’s team survive the Golden Eagles.
    Jacksonville (29-5), coached by Ryan Chambless, cut the Deshler lead to 10 in the third quarter outscoring the Tigers 16-3 in the first five minutes after intermission. Deshler stretched back to a 15-ppoint lead and to 16 by the end of the period. The Eagles clawed back 12 with 3:02 remaining but four straight free throws, two by Cantrell and two by Nicole Shirley, opened the game again.
    Shirley scored 17 for the Tigers hitting 7-of-12 free throws, and Karleigh Sledge had 13 points and 13 rebounds. Deshler was 28-of-39 at the foul line for the game.
    Jacksonville’s comeback effort was sparked by Virginia Poe. The senior guard had a game-high 26 points sinking five treys. Angel Kidd added 10 points with one 3-pointer and 7-of-8 free throws. Dasia Kirksey also had 12 points and 13 rebounds.
    The state championship was the sixth for Killen’s Tigers but the first since Deshler won three in a row in 2004, 2005 and 2006. Killen (628-126) also recorded the 600th win over her coaching career earlier in the 2014-15 season.
Class 4A Girls All-Tournament Team
Lauren Cantrell, Deshler (MVP); Karleigh Sledge, Deshler; Nicole Shirley, Deshler; Virginia Poe, Jacksonville; Angel Kidd, Jacksonville; Queen Ford, Sipsey Valley; McKenzie Courtney, UMS-Wright. 



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