Malvern Lady Cubs 8th grade hoopsters prevail in final season battle against Harmony Grove

(2) Justice Smith for Malvern penetrates toward the basket to make a strong move against Haskell Harmony Grove Jr. Lady Cardinals during eighth grade girls junior high basketball action on Thursday, January 31, 2019 at the Leopard Center. Malvern defeated Harmony Grove, 23-9. Photo by Gerren Smith
Gerren Smith
Staff Writer

To finish out their eighth grade basketball season on the hardwood for the Leopard Center hoop fans, the hometown Malvern Lady Cubs topped their visiting opponent Haskell Harmony Grove Jr. Lady Cardinals 23-9 on Thursday, January 31, 2019.

The Lady Cubs brought a dominating groove to the hardwood to conclude their year of basketball action on a positive note in their final game of the season. Malvern showed no mercy as they shut out Haskell Harmony Grove 14-0 for the entire first half of action. Dy'sire Jones started the spark for Malvern by posting the game's first basket at the 14:12 mark in first half play.

Then, teammate Ayanna Johnson followed with a basket at the 12:15 mark to give Malvern an early 5-0 lead advantage. Lexi Thornton added to the Lady Cubs' lead by splitting a pair of free-throws, then Johnson made a trip to the foul line and sank both free-throws to put Malvern ahead over the Jr. Cardinals, 7-0. From this point, Johnson continued to keep the momentum rolling in Malvern's favor by completing a three-point play and making a couple free-throws with another key basket from the field. Jones also contributed to the Lady Cubs' first half scoring by making 1 of 2 free-throws at the charity stripe to showcase some dominance for Malvern that led to productive play offensively and defensively.

In the second half, the outcome from first half play didn't change as the Lady Cubs kept the aggressive drive on both ends of the court by matching the Jr. Lady Cardinals 9-9 with Malvern keeping their visiting opponent under double-digit scoring. The scoring spree of Jones and Johnson provided the offensive spark for Malvern in the second half. Carla Spencer put the finishing touches on scoring for Malvern by posting the Lady Cubs last basket of the contest at the 2:47 mark. The Lady Cubs didn't have to score for almost the final three minutes play due to providing enough damage done earlier in the game by productive offensive and defensive performances in first and second half action.

For the game, Malvern's Johnson led all scorers with a big night with 12 points to outscore the entire Jr. Lady Cardinals team total of nine points for the evening. Johnson was the lone player to post in double-figures. Jones followed with a strong eight points, Spencer added two points and Thornton chipped in one point for the Lady Cubs eighth grade hoopsters.