JACKSON • The cavernous Mississippi Coliseum has not historically been a shooter’s paradise, but clearly no one told Katie Beth Hall.
The junior had a big first half behind the 3-point line as Ingomar sailed past Simmons, 58-33, on Monday in the Class 1A girls semifinals.
The Lady Falcons (29-5) will face West Lowndes at 1 p.m. Thursday in the championship game. They’ll be vying for an 11th state title.
Hall had 15 points by halftime –all on 3-pointers – as the Lady Falcons raced out to a 33-14 lead. She finished with 18 points, making 6 of 7 from 3-point range.
“She’s never seen a shot she doesn’t like,” Ingomar coach Trent Adair said. “I didn’t expect her to be intimidated whatsoever by the environment.”
Hall’s secret? Prayer and an energy drink.
“How I stay focused is I pray,” Hall said. “We all pray – the team prays before the game, and we get calmed down. And we also drink a loaded tea, so that helps.”
Hall wasn’t the only Lady Falcon to excel offensively. Macie Phifer had a game-high 22 points to go with 13 rebounds, while Kaylee Johnson scored 13 and was 3 of 7 from downtown.
As a team, Ingomar shot 19 of 32 (59.4%) from the field, including 11 of 19 (57.9%) from 3-point range.
This is a Lady Falcons program just three years removed from a three-peat in Class 2A. This season’s group is young, with the starting lineup consisting of two juniors, a sophomore, a freshman and an eighth grader.
“Their evolution and growth as a team, as individuals, it’s been pretty amazing. It’s been pretty fun to watch,” Adair said.
Simmons (18-4) was led by 16 points from Taylor Lucas.
Turning Point: Ingomar led 18-6 after one quarter and then blew it wide open, with triples by Johnson and Hall making it a 26-8 game.
Point Maker: Phifer shot 8 of 11 from the field and 5 of 7 from the free throw line.
Talking Point: “We’re so excited. We’re so ready.” – Hall, on playing for a state title