#3 Cashion LadyCats - 47
#4 Preston Lady Pirates - 38
Last week Cashion Head Coach Ronnie Maple said he calls Brenna Jenkins his silent assassin. The nickname was given to Jenkins because nobody ever talks about her despite her vital impact on the floor. But after her performance Thursday night against #4 Preston High School, Maple might have to drop off the first word of the nickname and just go with assassin.
Jenkins impact on the game can't be measured by the box score. It doesn't do it justice. Jenkins had only one point in the first half, but her tenacity on defense and excellent ball-handling skills helped Cashion take a 24-20 lead into the locker room at halftime. Her ability to maneuver against Preston's full-court press allowed the LadyCats to capitalize on mismatches in the front court. But as good as she was with the ball in her hands, she was even better without it.
Thanks to some savvy scouting and stellar hand-eye coordination, Jenkins was able to terrorize the Lady Pirates offense.
"I watched the Hooker game and they were letting her go right the whole time and she couldn't do it," Jenkins said. "I was just told that she didn't have a right hand and coach said to play it there and come and go as I please. I've been told I'm one of the quickest on the team and I just counted on my footwork and handwork to get the ball from her. I just got in her head and she kept giving it to me, so I just kept doing it."
In what Maple called the most physical game of the year, it was Jenkins--the smallest player on the court--who led the charge. From the opening tip, Jenkins fought through screens, dove for loose balls and attacked the rim. What Jenkins lacks in size, she makes up for in brains but most importantly heart.
With the clock winding down in the third quarter, Jenkins stole the ball and drove full court for a lay up where she was slammed to the ground causing her to exit the game. Cashion entered the fourth up 31-27 and that's when Jenkins came back into the game and went back to her assassin ways. This time on offense.
Jenkins scored seven of Cashion's final nine points to seal a trip to the semifinals Friday night. She finished with 10 points.
The win puts Cashion one game away from the Big House. A place where they have desperately wanted to return to since falling to Fairview in the state championship a season ago. Thursday night, Cashion got redemption over Preston who defeated them two seasons ago in the first round of the state tournament. Now they are two wins away from getting the ultimate redemption. A state championship.
Cashion will face Christian Heritage Friday night at 7 p.m. at Yukon High School.