Keith High girls headed to Class 1A state tournament

Published 10:31 am Sunday, February 25, 2024

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Keith High School’s road to the Class 1A girls’ state basketball tournament was paved with uncertainty. The Lady Bears went from virtually unknown to two wins away from winning the fourth girls state championship in school history.

Keith (19-9) faces Marion County (19-12) in a 1A state semifinals on Monday at 9 p.m. at the Birmingham Jefferson Civic Center. 

“It feels great to reach the Final Four, but I am more excited for the girls than for myself,” said Keith coach Cecil Williams.

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Williams said the Lady Bears went from a one-and-done playoff team to Central Regional champions in three months.

“At mid-season, the girls played differently, when things didn’t go right, they gave up,” Williams said. “All of a sudden, I saw a change. They played hard and never gave up. They played together and looked out for each other. They elevated themselves.”

Keith is led by junior Jakayla Moore, who averages 16 points, six rebounds and six assists a game. The other Lady Bears starters are: Aniyah Richardson, Shania Moore, Janiyah King

and Adasia Atkins.

The other Keith players are Jakiria Hunter, Kamora Johnson, Jakiyah Reese, Tamiami Richardson, Miracle Murray, Chrishundra Richardson, Jocelyn Atkins, Jeffiya Johnson and

Jalasiah Satterwhite. Salisha Robinson is the assistant coach. 

Moore, the Central Region MVP, said the Lady Bears’ hard work and dedication started to show as victories piled up.

“It means a lot to reach the Final Four,” Moore said. “I feel that my hard work and the team’s hard work is paying off. We are focused on our semifinal game against Marion County.”

Richardson, Keith’s only senior, said all of the preseason workouts began to show as the team eventually bonded. 

“Making the state tournament feels extremely good,” Richardson said. “We’ll be ready for Birmingham.”

Williams guided Keith to the 1A state title in 2015 and made three other state tournament appearances during the 2010s. Williams was named 1A coach of the year. Harriett Winchester made 1A All-State by the Alabama Sportswriters Association (ASWA).