Three-peat for Fairview, Panthers capture 14th state title

HAMMOND — Youth did little to slow down No. 2 Fairview at the girls state basketball tournament Friday night at Southeastern Louisiana University.

The Panthers bombarded No. 5 Oak Hill with 33 points in the first quarter and rolled to an 82-66 win to three-peat as Class B state champions.

Fairview won its 14th — and final — Class B state championship as it will move to Class C next season.

“I am proud of them, especially with this team,” Fairview head coach Kyle Jinks said. “Losing so much last year, I really never thought we would be where we are at today. I thought we could win.”

Freshman point guard Reesie Jinks fueled the Panthers’ high-scoring offense with one of three double-doubles for the Panthers (37-5). Jinks had a double-double of 24 points and 13 assists and was voted game MVP. Sophomore Ella Reeves had a double-double with 24 points and 11 rebounds, and junior Isabella Smith added 16 points and 13 rebounds, including four 3-pointers.

Rylee Cloud, the Panthers’ lone senior, scored 18 points in her final game, including four buckets from downtown despite being slowed by an injury in the second half.

“When I thought about it, I kind of wanted to cry,” Cloud said. “I am still pretty in shock too.

“If you asked me this summer if we were going to win a state championship, I would have told you, ‘No.’ We were pretty bad. Just to know that now we are here and won it all, and it is my senior year, it just feels emotionally great.”

Oak Hill (36-7) stayed with the Panthers early. Emma Tucker’s 3-pointer 2 minutes into the opening quarter cut Fairview’s lead to 7-5. Fairview went on an 18-2 run to pull away and shot 56.5 percent from the field in the first quarter.

“Good thing we had a helluva a first quarter,” Kyle Jinks said. “I think after that, it might have been even.

“We came out firing. I think defensively our speed might have overwhelmed them early. After that first quarter, (Oak Hill) adjusted and got used to it.”

Oak Hill made a run after trailing 52-32 at the break and cut the deficit to 14 with less than 4 minutes left on a 3-pointer by Kylee Johnson. Forward Alexis Dyer led Oak Hill with 25 points and 16 rebounds.

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