By Jason Hanes
Amiyah Payne had 25 points and seven rebounds to pace the All-Alabama Roadrunners to a 67-55 victory over FBC Black JB, 67-55, in 17u action at the Triple Crown NIC Saturday morning in Franklin, Tenn.
“I just stayed aggressive the entire time,” Payne said. “Just kept the intensity up for my team. We tried to put our energy into defense to get us good looks on offense."
Transition baskets by the All-Alabama Roadrunners helped the side take a 15-7 lead in the first quarter, as Dakiyah Sanders came up with a pair of steals at midcourt that led to buckets. Jamya Tyus sank a lay-up in the waning seconds of the first quarter to make it 21-12 after the first eight minutes.
“With the extended zone we play on defense, it’s catered towards people who want to drive. That was [FBC Black JB’s] strength is driving to the basket, so that’s what we had to cut off,” said All-Alabama Roadrunners head coach Beverly Kirk. “We were able to make adjustments to what they were doing.”
FBC Black JB used free-throws to trim the lead to six early in the second quarter, eventually cutting the lead to three, 23-20, with just under four minutes left in the half. An 8-0 run would give All-Alabama Roadrunners a double-digit lead, with Sanders scoring on a lay-up to cap the run. Hannah Edwards would make a pair of free throws in the final minute to make it 33-24 at halftime.
FBC Black JB scored first four points of the second half, but a triple by Payne and a transition bucket by Kiana Montgomery made it 38-28 sending FBC Black JB into a timeout. A great feed by Sanders to Payne ended in an easy basket after the timeout to make it a 12-point advantage after the timeout. The lead would swell to 17, but FBC Black JB would trim the lead to 13, 47-34, after three quarters.
Payne sent a message with a 3-pointer to start the fourth quarter, with the shooting guard pushing the advantage up to 18 for her side with another bucket. Payne says she tries to emulate NBA great Kobe Bryant in her play. “Before this year, I used to just be a slasher,” Payne said. “Now I incorporate my shooting more. I try to be a playmaker. That’s what I want to be.”
“Amiyah’s just a player that can take a guard with her size, and she can take a post with her moves,” Coach Kirk said. “She’s just so versatile, and she works hard every day.”
FBC Black JB got it down to 12 after a 3-pointer by Cayla Cowart made it 57-45. Missed free-throws by the All-Alabama Roadrunners kept FBC Black JB in it, with a triple by Eden Sample getting the lead down to nine. After a timeout, Edwards on a quick inbound scored the lead back into double-digits, and the All-Alabama Roadrunners would coast to a twelve-point victory.
Kamryn Collins scored 17 points to lead the way for FBC Black JB. Asjah Inniss had seven rebounds.
In addition to Payne’s 25 points, Tyus scored 14 and Edwards ended up a rebound short of a double-double after scoring 10 points.
Coach Kirk knows it’s still a long tournament, but she is happy with what she has seen so far at the NIC. “Any time you have good organization and you have referees that are calling good games and protecting my big girls, that’s what I look for in an event.”