Pillow Academy senior Kaylee Jones looks like she’s been practicing 3-pointers from college distance lately.
The recent Mississippi College signee drained several deep triples to help the Lady Mustangs begin their Overall title defense with a 67-38 win against Starkville Academy in the opening round of the MAIS North AAAA Tournament on Tuesday night.
Jones finished with 12 points and three steals while partner-in-crime Caroline Brock poured in a game-high 17 points and seven rebounds to extend Pillow’s winning streak to 15 games.
The Lady Mustangs jumped ahead to an early 15-3 lead thanks to the outside play of Jones and the inside presence of Kayla Brown (eight points, six boards).
The Lady Vols made a run in the second quarter, cutting their deficit to 20-14, but the rally was short-lived. Brock bullied a defender in transition for a tough and-1 finish and Julia Love Lyon buried a corner 3 to stretch their lead to double digits for good.
Sarah Presley Howard also added nine points and three steals off the bench for Pillow (20-3).
The Lady Mustangs advance to the tournament’s semifinals on Friday at 1 p.m. against the winner of Wednesday’s matchup between Lamar School and Bayou Academy.
A date with Leake Academy, which handed Pillow one of its three losses this season, likely awaits in the championship game.
“I think we’ll play (Leake) in State and Overall, too,” Jones said. “And I think they’ll all be really good games.”
In the boys game, Leake Academy exploded for six 3-pointers in the first quarter en route to a 69-43 victory over the Mustangs, ending their season in the first round of the MAIS North AAAA Tournament.
After falling behind 24-12 heading into the second quarter, Pillow switched to man-to-man defense and sparked a rally before halftime. Drew Lamb finished off a strong drive and freshman Cameron Lee scored a pair of buckets to trim their deficit to 31-27, but that’s the closest the Mustangs got against the No. 2 seed from District 2.
The Rebels stretched their lead back to double digits in the third quarter as Pillow managed just nine points in the frame.
• Contact Riley Overend at 581-7237 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @OverendOut on Twitter.