Big third quarter helps CCHS roll by Merryville
By GEOFFREY STOUTE
MERRYVILLE — During a break in action with 1:17 left in its 73-49 regional round rout of Merryville High School, Central Catholic junior Carlie Boagni, walked in a small area of the court, bending her knees slightly and snapping her fingers in a little dance while turning to look up at the scoreboard.
Whether she knew it or not, the moment called for celebration because the Lady Eagles were just a little more than a minute away from becoming just the third squad in school history to advance to the Class 1A quarterfinals.
When the final horn sounded signaling the end of the game, though, Boagni’s impromptu dance was about the only celebrating the Lady Eagles would do as it left here Thursday with a second-round win and returned home for a Monday matchup with West St. John.
West St. John advanced to the quarterfinals with a 40-37 victory against Southern Lab, who had defeated the Lady Eagles (23-3) in their two previous trips to the quarterfinals.
In Thursday’s regional round matchup, the Lady Eagles broke open the game in the third quarter, outscoring the Lady Panthers (15-14) in the quarter, 21-6, extending what was a 41-27 halftime lead into a dominating 62-33 lead after three quarters of play.
In the third quarter, CCHS used its defense to create opportunities for its offense.
The Lady Eagles forced multiple turnovers by employing multiple defenses, and on the offensive end, they were able to hit shots.
Additionally, the Lady Eagles limited the Lady Panthers to zero offensive rebounds in the third quarter.
The closest the Lady Panthers got to an offensive rebound in the third quarter was when they retained possession of a shot following a jump ball with 1.42 seconds left.
“We knew that they weren’t going to play but six players so our whole thing was to make them fatigued in the first half and come at them hard in the third quarter and that’s just what we did,” CCHS assistant coach Joe Jones said. “We just mixed up the different defenses and ran the ball on offense.”
Merryville coach Mark Perow said the turnovers were the difference for his squad.
“We committed too many turnovers, and off the turnovers Central Catholic was able to finish on the other end,” he said. “You got to take care of the ball against a good, quality team like we played.”
In the fourth quarter, the Lady Eagles extended its lead to as much as 71-39 on a Brie Hill basket with 5:45 left in the game.
On the defensive end, MHS picked up just two offensive rebounds in the second half, both late in the game when the CCHS reserves were in.
In the first half, the Lady Eagles trailed 4-0 initially following an Andrea Cournover basket and two free throws by Ivona Sweet with 6:41 remaining in the first quarter.
The Lady Eagles clawed their way back when Meo Knight converted a 3-point play when she was fouled by Sweet on a drive to the basket which she made and converted a free throw as well as an offensive putback by Hill. From there, the Lady Eagles never trailed again, taking a 25-15 lead after one quarter of play.
Knight and teammate Randi Brown led CCHS as each recorded double-doubles.
Knight, playing in front of a McNeese State University scout there to see her, scored 27 points and pulled down 14 rebounds. She also recorded five assists, four steals and one block.
Brown added 19 points, 12 rebounds and nine steals.
Other CCHS contributors included Makayla McDaniel, nine points, four steals, eight assists and two rebounds; Hill, eight points, six steals, two assists and six rebounds; Megan Landry, four points; Gee Garrett, three points and seven rebounds; Abbie Bergeron, two points, one steal and two assists; and Caroline Byrne, one point and two rebounds.
The Lady Eagles will return to action Monday against West St. John at 7 p.m. at the Matchbox. The game will mark the final time a girls’ postseason basketball game will be played in the gym.