Herald Super 6er Jermaine Hartsfield rocked the rim all night Friday in Mitchell's beating of region rival Seminole County, scoring a game-high 22 points.
CAMILLA — Mitchell County Super 6er Jermaine Hartsfield had taken over Friday night’s game long before his one-handed slam with seven minutes left.
The rim-rattling dunk just made sure Seminole County --- and every other Class A team around the state --- got the message.
“We feel like the best team in the state,” Hartsfield said following the 67-41 blowout win against Region 1-A rival Seminole County.
Hartsfield and the red-hot Eagles looked like it Friday night.
Herald No. 3 Mitchell County (19-3) entered the game No. 2 in the state in the Class A power ratings behind Wilkinson County, and the Eagles looked head-and-shoulders better than Herald No. 4 Seminole County (15-5), which came into the contest tied for No. 3 in the state.
With the win, the Eagles locked up the No. 1 seed in the upcoming region tournament and clinched home court for their postseason opener.
Hartsfield led the way with a game-high 22 points and took over midway through the third quarter when he scored 13 straight points and turned a seven-point game into a Mitchell County rout.
And it was his one-handed dunk --- which capped his 13-point run --- that slammed the door on the Indians.
“When he threw that down, I knew it was a back breaker,” Mitchell County coach Kenneth Harris said.
Four minutes later, Hartsfield finished off a fast break with another dunk, this time with two hands to give the Eagles a 22-point lead.
“I was so high up there,” Hartsfield said about his second dunk. “It felt good. Felt like I was flying through the air.”
You can’t fly much higher than the Eagles these days. They’ve now won seven in a row and 12 of their last 13 and were in control of Friday night’s game the entire second half after going into halftime with just a six-point lead.
“We have been doing this all year,” Harris said. “This is nothing new. We play tough defense, and our defense gives us a chance to win.”
The Indians, who have now dropped two in a row, turned the ball over 20 times and got increasingly frustrated by Mitchell County’s full-court, in-your-face defense.
“In the second half it just got out of hand because we didn’t handle (the press) very well,” Seminole County coach Kevin Godwin said. “Give Mitchell credit because they played great defense and shot the ball well. They were the better team (Friday).”
Seminole County looked far from the team that won six straight prior to its current two-game skid.
“Obviously this was set back,” Godwin said. “We have to get things turned around, particularly going into the region tournament. Right now is not the time of year you want to be playing bad.”
John Hudson led Seminole with 14 points, but eight of his point came in the first five minutes of the game when he helped the Indians take an early 9-3 lead.
The lead went back and forth until midway through the second quarter when Mitchell County went on a 10-2 run and never trailed again.
Hudson hit a pair of free throws with 3:56 left in the third quarter to cut Mitchell County’s lead to seven points, but then Hartsfield exploded for 13 straight points, which included a pair of 3-pointers and his thundering slam.
“The guys look for (Hartsfield),” Harris said. “A couple of times he made plays on his own, but mostly his teammates found him. They were looking for him behind the 3-point line. They were looking for him for the lob. They were looking for that one dunk.”
Hartsfield finished with 16 second-half points and a game-high 11 rebounds.
“I just felt like we needed a little boost, so I took that leadership role as the captain and took control,” Hartsfield said.
Mitchell County’s Jaquan Williams also came alive in the second half, scoring 15 of his 17 points after halftime, including nine points in a span of a 1:30 late in the fourth quarter, while Daron Hodges added 10 points for the Eagles, who play again tonight at home against Brooks County.
Seminole County is off until Tuesday, when they play Quitman.
MITCHELL COUNTY GIRLS 66, SEMINOLE COUNTY 57: Seminole County’s Katrese Brown scored 13 of her game-high 24 points in the fourth quarter, but it wasn’t enough to stop the host Lady Eagles and their dynamic post players.
Posts A’Miracle Jones and Breeka Holton combined for 39 points to lead Herald No. 5 Mitchell County (14-8) to its seventh win in its last eight games.
Jones, a Herald Super 6er, led the way with 23 points, while Holton added 16.
The win likely secured a No. 2 seed for the Lady Eagles in the upcoming Region 1-A tournament, while Seminole County (12-7) will fight it out with Calhoun County for the No. 3 seed.
Mitchell led by just one point at the end of the first quarter, but a 9-2 run at the end of the second quarter gave the Lady Eagles a 47-38 lead at halftime and they never looked back.
Seminole County got as close as five points with 34 seconds left in the game and had a chance to make it a one-possession contest, but a late turnover ended the Lady Indians’ comeback bid.
Alexus Watson and Candace Barber scored 13 and 10 points, respectively, for the Lady Indians.