BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AHSAA) – Charles Henderson downed Wenonah 57-53 Wednesday to move into the Class 5A girls' state championship game for the second year in a row. The victory also ended the Dragons' streak of state titles at four.
Coach Dyneshia Jones Trojans (31-4) advances to the Class 5A finals of the 96th annual AHSAA State Basketball Championships at 12:30 p.m., Saturday at the BJCC Legacy Arena.
Wenonah (25-8), coached by Emanuel Bell, beat the Trojans (31-4) last season in a come-from-behind finish. This time, it was Charles Henderson that came from behind late to win.
Charles Henderson led by as 12 points in the second half but saw that lead evaporate late when Wenonah scored eight straight points to take a 53-52 advantage with 1:01 remaining. Niaira Jones, the daughter of the Trojans' head coach, intercepted a pass with 24 seconds left and was fouled. She sank both free throws to put Charles Henderson ahead 54-53. Maori Davenport, who finished with 25 points and 19 rebounds, pulled down a missed Wenonah shot and was fouled with 11 seconds left. She made them both and went to the line again in the final seconds and made another to seal the win.
Davenport, a 6-foot-4 junior, also had three blocked shots and was 7-of-8 on the night at the foul line. Jones finished with 10 points, seven rebounds, two assists and three steals. Tatyana Siler added 12 points and six rebounds for the Trojans.
Faith Reynolds had 16 points and 11 rebounds for Wenonah. Markesha Body had 15 points and Ke'Andra Childress had 14. Bell's Dragons also saw their streak of five straight championship game appearances end. Wenonah won state titles in 2017, 2016, 2015 and 2014 and was runner-up in 2013. The victory over the Dragons was Charles Henderson's first.