MORGAN CITY — Central Catholic may have won by 21 points, but except for its fast-break points off turnovers, the squad struggled to shoot the ball in the Class 1A regional round victory Thursday against Mount Hermon.
The Lady Eagles, the No. 4 seed, defeated Mount Hermon, the No. 13 seed, 59-38, to advance to the Class 1A quarterfinals where they will face fifth-seeded Tensas at home Monday at 6 p.m. Tensas, the No. 5 seed, defeated No. 12 seed East Iberville
“We played really well to-night, I think, especially defensively,” Central Catholic coach Jamarr Garrett said. “That’s the first time we ran our full-court, man-to-man press that long in a game. We usually run a little zone press but we figured they’re young, they had an eighth-grader, a freshman and obviously No. 14, she’s a senior, they’re the only ones who can handle the ball so we figured we’d pressure the ball, we’d get them to start making turnovers and that’s exactly what happened.”
However, there were the shooting woes.
In Thursday’s contest, the Lady Eagles shot 39.1 percent from the field, connecting on 27 of 69 shots. They were three-of-12 from three-point range and just two-of-eight from the free throw line.
Garrett said the points off turnovers were key.
“It played a big part and especially when No. 14 (Katelyn Barber), that’s their best player, she got in foul trouble early on and we got her out the game, and that’s when we really started forcing turnovers and actually capitalizing on them, making layups, stuff we usually don’t do,” Garrett said. “We usually turn the ball right back over when we get turnovers, but we played really well in the press.”
Central Catholic raced out to a 12-3 lead after a period of play and increased their lead to 30-11 at the half, as Makayla McDaniel grabbed an offensive rebound and quickly fired a shot before the buzzer for the halftime score.
While the Lady Eagles put up points, the Lady Jackets struggled as they mostly shot three-pointers until late in the first half when they finally started shooting inside.
Mount Hermon’s use of the three-point shot was not totally unexpected as the squad attempted 24 three-pointers in their opening round win against Ouachita Christian.
They also were without their leading scorer, Katelyn Barber, who got in foul trouble early in the game and had to go to the bench. She did not play the entire second quarter.
In the second half, she scored all of her team-leading 19 points. The Lady Jackets scored 27 points in the second half.
The scoring margins between the two squads was much closer in the second half as Central Catholic outscored Mount Hermon, 12-9, in the third quarter, while Mount Hermon edged the Lady Eagles in the fourth quarter, 18-17.
Garrett agreed that a win like this was a better experience than the first-round victory against Delhi Charter.
“They wouldn’t go away,” he said. “I kept telling the girls, ‘come on, girls, let’s get it to 30, let’s get it to 35, let’s put it away,’ and we just couldn’t. They kept fighting back. As you can see towards the end, 14 was hitting everything she shot. She wasn’t missing a shot. I’ve been preaching to them all year. It happened against V.C., it happened against Hanson, both times we played both of those teams, we would get up by 10 or 12 points and instead of putting them away, we let them hang around and the game seems a lot closer than it really is.”
Randi Brown and Meo Knight both recorded double-doubles for Central Catholic.
Brown had 19 points and 13 rebounds as well as three assists, three steals and one block.
Knight had 15 points and 12 boards as well as two assists and five steals.
Other top Lady Eagle contributors included Megan Landry, nine points and three rebounds; Caroline Byrne, five points, three steals, two assists and two rebounds; Abbie Bergeron, five points, two steals, one assist and two rebounds; and McDaniel, four rebounds, five assists, three steals and four points.