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Nike Coleman and Akyra Briggs posted double-doubles as Carroll took care of Jennings 59-49 in the first round of the Class 3A girls basketball state playoffs Thursday night.

Winners of eight straight, the 15th-seeded Lady Bulldogs (15-10) travel to No. 2 Mansfield (23-5) on Monday. Game time has yet to be determined.

Carroll, the District 2-3A champion, did a lot of things right against the Jennings Lady Bulldogs.

Along with scoring a team-high 16 points, Coleman controlled the glass on both sides of the floor en route to grabbing 12 rebounds.

“We have been working with her on boxing out, getting the rebound and finishing shots,” Carroll coach Kiara Johnson said of Coleman. “She’s having a breakout junior year. I am super excited about seeing her continue to progress.”

Carroll was unselfish with the basketball. Briggs pitched in 12 points to go with 10 assists, and B.J. Johnson was credited with seven points and five helpers.

“From seeing Jennings on film, we knew they liked to stay in a zone the majority of the time, so we definitely talked about making the extra pass,” coach Johnson said.

Besides setting up their teammates for high percentage shots, Briggs and B.J. Johnson’s floor game created open shots from mid-range.Carroll capitalized by shooting 25-of-50 from the floor. Additionally, the Lady Bulldogs were a clutch 10-of-12 (83.3 percent) from the free throw line.

Jennings also shot the ball accurately, going 21-of-38 (55.3 percent) from the floor and 3-of-8 (40.5 percent) from 3-point distance. But the visitors opportunities were limited as Carroll held a plus-12 (23-11) turnover margin.

Carroll’s bench also played a key role in the victory. While all 11 Lady C-Dogs saw action, Jennings’ starters went the distance. B.J. Johnson and Aniyah Minter scored seven points apiece and Alura Wheeler added two as the reserves tallied 16 points. 

“The plan coming in was for everybody to step on the court for a few minutes. I challenged our players coming off the bench to not just go into the game, but to contribute and have an impact,” coach Johnson said. 

Meanwhile, Jennings received scoring contributions from only three players.

“We saw on film that they relied on two or three people for the majority of their offense, so we kind of backed off of the ones who were not scoring threats,” coach Johnson said. 

Minter’s three-point play gave the Lady C-Dogs a 9-8 lead at the end of the first quarter. Carroll was ahead to stay.

Michelle Howard-Brown’s bucket off of a spin move, Briggs’ jumper from the right perimeter and a putback, and Coleman’s 14-footer from the right baseline completed a 10-0 run as Carroll extended its lead to 17-8.

Jennings was able to close within 19-14 at halftime as two goals by Jill Fontenot sparked a 6-2 flurry.

Kaleniza Wilson’s 3-pointer upped Carroll’s lead to 26-18 midway through the third stanza. Back-to-back baskets by Kyla Chambers off of Fontenot assists narrowed the margin to 26-22, but that was as close as Jennings would get.

Wheeler’s 17-footer on an inbounds play and B.J. Johnson’s transition layup widened the margin to 31-22. Fontenot answered with a driving layup before Carroll separated behind an 8-0 binge.

Coleman’s rebound bucket, two B.J. Johnson free throws, Briggs’ breakaway bucket off of a B.J. Johnson interception on the defensive end, and Minter’s deuce off of a perfectly-placed pass from Briggs gave Carroll its biggest lead of the evening, 39-24.

Trailing 39-26 at the end of the third quarter, Jennings was never closer than six (55-49) in the final frame.

Coleman, B.J. Johnson and Briggs combined to make 6-of-6 free throws in the final minute to put the game away.

Fontenot scored 14 of her game-high 24 points in the fourth quarter, Chambers accounted for 14 of her 16 in the second half, and Kyrania Morton added nine for Jennings (20-11).


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