MILLEDGEVILLE — Maybe hangover from a disappointing double overtime region final loss Friday still lingered, but John Milledge Academy girls’ head coach Natasha Gainous was surprised with Wednesday’s 46-36 GISA AAA state tournament loss to Mount de Sales.
Senior Mollie Ritchie netted 22 points. No one else seemed willing to step up, according to Gainous.
JMA coughed up too many turnovers.
“We threw the ball away probably 75 percent of the time we had the ball in the first half at least,” Gainous said. “Nobody wanted the ball in their hands.”
Despite the mistakes, the Trojans were down just nine points at halftime.
JMA scrapped within four after the break. MDS made a run soon after that, and the Trojans never recovered.
“I had a bad feeling from the beginning,” the JMA coach said. “They just didn’t look ready to play.”
Sophomore Kelsey Chambers did a good job attacking the basket and creating shots for teammates, but it was too little too late.
Gainous expected her team to mount a comeback win. JMA got caught without that collective fire.
“You aren’t going to go into a state playoff game against a team with 12 seniors without that desire to win the game,” Gainous said.
The girls’ squad turned the season around after the holidays, making a solid region run to the state round. A final 10-12 record could have been better.
JMA’s head coach hopes the graduating seniors learned some life lessons.
Things aren’t always going to come easy.
Gainous said the team made this season enjoyable through the rough start on to the finish.
“We had some good wins leaving it all out on the court. It stinks we are going to end the season against a team I don’t think is better than us,” Gainous said. “It takes a lot more than people realize to make a turnaround like we did this year. I’m happy we showed some life and how good we could be.”