Story by: Griffin Pritchard | Publisher
Central Alabama Scoreboard.com
CENTRAL ALABAMA SCOREBOARD OFFICE — The Stanhope Elmore High School Mustangs basketball season ended a few hours earlier than anticipated following a 55-45 sub-state loss on the road to Pelham. Originally scheduled for a 6:30 tip, the game was moved back to high noon Monday afternoon in an attempt to combat the encroaching winter weather.
Pelham advances and will travel to McGill-Toolen Thursday.
“I’m very proud of my girls,” said Kelvin Stokes, coach of the Mustangs. “They came out fired up. Earling in the year we played in a Thanksgiving tournament and we played early and ended up playing well in that game. Therefore, we were kind of prepared for a game like this.”
The Mustangs came out and took a 2-0 lead. Pelham answered with 14 points in a row.
Pelham led 15-10 at the end of the first period and then 32-21 at the intermission.
Jayden Thomas posted 12 first-half points to lead the Mustangs. Brooke Burkett, in her quest for 1,000 was stymied in the first half with only two points.
The Panthers stayed ahead in the second half on the way to the win.
Thomas finished the night with 16 while Kelbi Johnson had 10 and Jace Haynes posted seven.
Burkett finished the night with five points, ending her career three shy of 1,000.
“It was frustrating (seeing her not reach the goal) because she is a fierce competitor,” said Stokes. “She really wanted the 1,000 points and I think she pressed too much trying to get it. I think she wasn’t feeling the game and letting it come to her. She was attacking her own game and got out of her rhythm. But she had a phenomenal career.”
The Mustangs – surviving a pandemic season – speaks to their character and toughness overall. They finished the year just below .500 with back-to-back postseason losses. But in a year like this, making it to the end is reward enough.
“I am so proud of this team and their parents,” said Stokes. “We overcame a lot of adversity with Covid. We persevere through having to be quarantined and some of the players having symptoms. They all came back and faced the deadly infection as a team. We definitely became more respectful to life and the game, knowing both can be taken away in an instant.”