For the 17th year under head coach Kenny Parker, the Lady Tiger Sharks are headed to the Class 1A state playoffs.
On Jan. 28, in their last regular season home game, Port St. Joe had a slow start against North Bay Haven, leading 12-8 after the first quarter.
In the second, the Lady Tiger Sharks outscored the Lady Buccaneers 19-4, to lead 31-12 at the half. Port St. Joe put together a 30-7 second half to secure the 61-19 win.
Sophomore Jae Lenox led all scorers with 20 points, along with nine assists, three rebounds and seven steals.
Junior Mimi Larry added 18 points, together with seven rebounds, four assists, one block and six steals.
Sophomore Mari Johnson tallied 15 points, with nine rebounds, six steals and one assist. Freshman Sh’Mayra O’Neil added six points, plus seven rebounds and an assist, with junior Shavadia Hudgins scoring one, while pulling down three rebounds, with four assists, one block and two steals. Freshman Zhyion Quinn scored one, with five rebounds and a steal.
On Jan. 29, in the last regular season game of the year, Port St. Joe traveled to Ft. Walton High and fell behind 14-5 after the first quarter to the Class 5A powerhouse Lady Vikings.
By the half, the Lady Tiger Sharks faced a 26-12 deficit, and in the third, had a little run but still trailed 46-25 going in the fourth quarter. Port St. Joe outscored Ft. Walton 12-8 in the fourth, and lost 54-37, to finish the regular season at 11-7.
Lenox tallied 14 points, with two rebounds, seven assists and five steals, while Larry scored 13, with three rebounds, three blocks, and three steals. Freshman India Gant scored seven, with two rebounds, two assists, one block and one steal, with Johnson contributing three, plus eight rebounds, two blocks and two steals.
As the top seed in the Class 1A District 4 tournament, following a bye, the Lady Tiger Sharks on Feb. 4 faced the Liberty County Lady Bulldogs, who had defeated Wewahitchka two nights earlier.
Port St. Joe jumped to a 41-10 first half lead, and had the advantage of a running clock in the second half, with the Lady Tiger Sharks outscoring Liberty 12-4 for the 53-14 win.
Lenox scored 13 points, plus two rebounds, six assists, and four steals, with Larry adding 10, plus two rebounds, one assist, two blocks and three steals. Gant scored nine, plus five rebounds, five steals, two assist and one blocked shot.
Hudgins scored seven, with a rebound and a steal, with freshman Ty’Shawn Shackelford scoring four, plus two rebounds and one steal; and Johnson also scoring four, plus four rebounds and one assist.
O’Neil scored two, pulling down four rebounds and two steals; junior Amani Jones scored two, with one rebound, two assists, three blocked shots and two steals.
In the district championship game Feb. 4, the Lady Tiger Sharks took on the second-seed Bozeman Bucks, who had advanced with a win over the third-seeded Blountstown Tigers.
Port St. Joe got off to a fast start, leading the Lady Bucks by 30 points at the half, 44-14. The second half was the same, with the Lady Tiger Sharks building a 35-point lead to cause a running clock the rest of the game.
Lenox led the team with 17 points, plus six steals, five assists and one rebound, while Johnson scored 15, pulling down five rebounds, one assist, three blocks and nine steals.
Gant scored eight, plus five rebounds and six steals, and Larry tallied eight, with five rebounds, five assists, two blocked shots and a steal. Jones scored seven, pulling down six rebounds with five steals, three blocks and two assists. O’Neil scored four, with two rebounds and one steal; and Quinn added one point and one rebound.
The Lady Tiger Sharks are at home Thursday, Feb. 11 as they host Cottondale in the Region 2 semifinal at 7 p.m.
With a semi-final win, Port St. Joe would play at home on Tuesday, Feb. 16 against the winner of the Chipley Tiger/Bozeman Buck match-up.
This article originally appeared on The Star: Lady Sharks ace district, host Cottondale tonight