Fairview out paces Hicks for fourth title in five seasons

Published 11:51 pm Friday, March 1, 2024

No. 2 Fairview’s frenetic pace was just enough to beat equally offensive-minded No. 1 Hicks on Friday 81-78 in the select Division V finals at the Louisiana High School Athletic Association girls basketball state tournament in Hammond.

“I knew that it was going to be a tough game,” Fairview head coach Kyle Jinks said. “There is no secret. We know each other very well.

“They have two of the best players in the state in Reese Stephens and Shyanne Phillips…I am just excited for the win and I am excited for our team.”

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The teams combined to attempt 141 shots, averaging 13.6 seconds between attempts. Each team shot better than 40 percent from the field and combined for 62 field goals.

“They play very well at a fast pace too,” Kyle Jinks said. “It is just tonight that we played three points better.

“That is their style of play too. Coach Cross has done an awesome job over there. When you looked at them this summer and look where they are now, she has completely changed that program and turned it around. At Fairview, you get pulled if you pass up shots because, then you are slowing the pace down. If we have to make three passes, then defensively you did a hell of a job. I want one pass and a shot, then I want to crash the boards like it is no tomorrow.”

Fairview scored 72 or more points in nine consecutive games to close out the season and finish with a 32-7 record.

Fairview won its fourth state championship in five seasons and 15th overall with 13 in Jinks’ tenure.

Junior guard Reesie Jinks was named the finals MVP with a game-high 39 points, plus seven rebounds and four steals. Ella Reeves, the Panthers’ lone senior, had a double-double with 26 points and 16 rebounds.

There were 13 lead changes in the game. Five of those were in the fourth quarter. Hicks (34-4) point guard Reese Stevens hit a layup with 3:26 left in the game to put the Pirates up 70-69, but Jinks drove the basket for two points on the Panthers’ next possession and a 71-70 lead.

Stephens hit a bucket in the lane and a pair of free throws in a span of eight seconds to cut the Panthers’ lead to 79-76 with 32 seconds remaining.

Fairview 81

Hicks 78

Fairview (32-7): Reesie Jinks 39, Ella Reeves 26. Hicks (34-4): Shyanne Phillips 24, Reese Stephens 20

NOTE: Reeves had a double-double with 26 points and 16 rebounds.