GAINESVILLE — Playing in her first state playoff game, Gainesville’s Jaymee Carnes showed little sign of being nervous.
The 6-foot sophomore scored 27 points, grabbed 14 rebounds and blocked four shots en route to leading the Lady Red Elephants to a 46-25 win against Southside on Saturday night.
"That’s what she does every night," Gainesville coach Manson Hill said. "She obviously had a great night, but the rest of her team had a great night, too."
The win advances the Lady Red Elephants to the second round of the state playoffs where they will play host to Sandy Creek.
The night certainly didn’t start off great as both Gainesville (24-5) and Southside (20-8) struggled shooting the ball early, combining for only 24 points (on 6-of-30 shooting) in the first half.
Hill credited the Southside defense for his team’s early struggles.
"They’re very quick," Hill said of the Lady Lasers. "Their quickness in the zone gave us problems and it took us some time to find holes."
That time came in the second half, as Gainesville opened the third quarter on a 14-2 run, scoring on its first seven possessions.
Leading the way was Carnes, who scored all six of Gainesville’s first-quarter points, and 12 of the team’s 18 third-quarter points.
"I knew I needed to step up," Carnes said. "The guards did a really good job of hitting the post in the second half."
Rarely double-teamed, Carnes displayed her skills at every facet of the game in the third quarter.
If she wasn’t beating her defender off the dribble, she was hitting baseline jumpshots. If she wasn’t scoring off a rebound, she was stepping to the line and hitting her free-throws.
At one point, Carnes displayed her quickness in stealing an errant pass and then perfectly executing a give-and-go with Kiana Gasper for an easy basket.
The two points off of that play increased the Lady Red Elephants’ lead to 16 points, their largest of the game at the time.
"The biggest adjustment we made in the second half was we tried to get the ball inside and get behind the zone," Hill said. "We didn’t exactly execute our scouting report in terms of guarding them in the first half."
Carnes’ teammates also got involved in the scoring in the third quarter with Taylor Ricketts and Glasper each knocking down 3-pointers during Gainesville’s 10-0 run that started the period.
"We kept our poise and came out and played like we needed to play," Carnes said of the team’s offensive performance in the third quarter. "Everyone contributed and played their roles."
While Carnes played her role on the offensive end of the floor, Kiki Thompson, Ricketts and Glasper all played their roles in disrupting the Southside offense.
Thompson kept Southside’s leading scorer Shoneku McCurty in check all night, limiting the senior point guard to team-high 11 points on 2-of-11 shooting. Gainesville also was able to slow down Southside’s post player Porche Anderson, who finished the game with nine points, seven rebounds and five blocks.
"A lot of times people don’t see what a great job the girls did on defense," Hill said. "That was really key, too."
With a 15-point lead heading into the final quarter, Gainesville sealed the victory by going on a 12-3 run during the first six minutes of the fourth quarter.