St. Martin girls get past Pearl 69-64 to advance in 6A MHSAA basketball playoffs

PEARL — The duo of Kaileigh Bilbo and Antonia Bryant has been hard to stop all season.

It was no different on Monday night.

Behind the dynamic duo, St. Martin was able to hold off Pearl 69-64 in the first round of the MHSAA Girls Class 6A Playoffs.

MHSAA GIRLS BASKETBALL BRACKETS

The Lady Yellowjackets (22-4) will now travel to Meridian in the second round of the Class 6A playoffs on Wednesday night at 6 p.m.

“We pushed through; it was a back and forth game in the first half and we were able to hold at the end,” said St. Martin coach Regina Bell. “Kaileigh normally gets face guarded and tonight they let her shoot and when teams do that she’s going to score.”

It was back and forth all game long.

Pearl held a slim 19-17 lead at the end of the first quarter. Bilbo scored St. Martin’s first 11 points.

Midway through the second quarter, with the game tied at 24-24, the Lady Jackets went on a 10-4 run to take a 34-28 lead at halftime.

In the third quarter St. Martin extended their lead out to as much as 10 points and held a 55-46 lead heading into the final quarter.

The Lady Jackets quickly built a 12-point lead at 66-54, but Pearl went on a quick 6-0 run midway through to cut the lead down to six at 66-60.

A corner three-pointer by Valencia McFall with just under a minute left extended the Lady Jacket lead to 69-60 and they held on from there.

Bilbo had a game-high 23 points to lead St. Martin, while Bryant added 16 points for the Lady Jackets.

“We came out and we played hard and played with a chip on our shoulder,” Bryant said. “I’m a senior and we’re trying to win a championship, so we got to keep getting better. Last week was a wake up call for us and now we have to prove people wrong.”

McFall and Akiera Baker each had 10 points for St. Martin.

“Antonia sees the floor really well and she can drive to the basket, so she is hard to stop,” Bell said. “We get to move on to Meridian on Wednesday and have to go back, prepare and going have to play our very best to have a chance.”

Jacia Hayes had 21 points to lead Pearl, while Kynnedi Davis added 15 points and D’Stinee Lewis chipped in 14 points for the Lady Pirates (12-7).

“It was an exciting game and we missed way too many opportunities,” said Pearl coach Lacey Kennedy. “St. Martin came out and shot the ball really well. We missed several free throws and lay ups and in the playoffs against a really good team you cannot do that.”

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