CCHS eases by VC

Central Catholic’s Randi Brown shoots between Vermilion Catholic’s Ellen Langlinais, left, and Katie Frith. Brown had 18 points as the Lady Ealges, Class 1A’s top-ranked squad according to the latest unofficial Louisiana High School Athletic Association power rankings, topped Vermilion Catholic, Class 1A’s third-ranked squad, 53-35. (The Daily Review/Geoff Stoute)

By GEOFF STOUTE gstoute@daily-review.com

Early on in its marquee matchup with Vermilion Catholic, Central Catholic did exactly what the team had talked about not doing against the No. 3 ranked squad from Abbeville.
The Lady Eagles jumped out to a big lead, only to see Vermilion Catholic inch their way back into the contest.
However, when given a second opportunity to jump out to a big lead, the Lady Eagles didn’t let their district rivals back in as Central Catholic, Class 1A’s top squad according to the unofficial Louisiana High School Athletic Association power rankings, cruised to a 53-35 win.
“That was the difference between the first time we got the lead, and they crawled back and the second time (Central Catholic got a big lead),” Central Catholic coach Jamarr Garrett said. “The second time we did exactly what we talked about, and that’s putting them away.”
Central Catholic (15-2 overall, 3-0) jumped out to a 14-4 lead, prompting Vermilion Catholic coach Kim Guidry to call a timeout with 4:39 remaining in the opening quarter.
The Lady Eagles early run included five quick points by Hallie Autin on a two point bucket followed by a three pointer off an assist by Meo Knight on the Lady Eagles’ next possession.
Garrett said he thought Autin’s points early made Vermilion Catholic start “stretching their defense out” to defend her closer in addition to star guards Randi Brown and Knight, which Garrett said in turn helped the rest of the team.
After the timeout, however, Vermilion Catholic came storming back with an 8-0 run, capped by Katie Frith’s putback to cut the deficit to 14-12, still in the first quarter.
That was as close as Vermilion Catholic would get for the remainder of the contest as it was plagued with turnovers in the second quarter, which prevented them from consistently trying to score.
Central Catholic took advantage using a 20-6 advantage to take a 36-18 lead into halftime.
In the quarter, Brown scored 11 points, while Knight had nine.
“Not to take anything away from Central Catholic because they’re a good ball club, but we just didn’t play well (Friday),” Guidry said. “Now whether that’s CC that did that to us or we did that to ourselves, it was not one of our better nights.”
Guidry noted that when Vermilion Catholic would begin to trim into the lead, Central Catholic would extend it again with points off turnovers.
While both teams’ offenses didn’t do much in the second half with each scoring 17 points apiece, even Guidry didn’t appear too happy with her squad’s defense.
“I don’t even know if we did that that well,” she said.
Simply put, she said Vermilion Catholic needs to regroup and fix some things.
“The whole thing is we get to improve,” she said. “It’s just January and things don’t start clicking till the third week of February, so we just got some things to work on.”
Although Central Catholic clamped down on defense, limiting Vermilion Catholic to multiple one-shot possessions, Vermilion Catholic still got good looks at the basket in the third quarter.
However, the shots just didn’t go in as the squad was limited to just two buckets by Kaylen Collins, and as a team, went 0-5 from the free throw line.
Garrett called the win “an overall team effort, team win,” noting this team followed the game plan of pressuring Vermilion Catholic’s point guard as well as defending the post when they tried to work the ball inside.
In the fourth quarter, Vermilion Catholic had a little more success, scoring 13 points.
Central Catholic was led by its duo of Knight and Brown, who scored 21 points and 18, respectively. Knight, a women’s basketball signee for the University of Alabama, also had eight rebounds, five steals, three assists and one block, while Brown had 10 rebounds, four assists, five steals and one block.
Other top contributors included Megan Landry, four points, two steals, one assist and three rebounds; Gee Garrett, five points, one block and two rebounds; and Hallie Autin, five points, two steals and one assist.
Frith and Collins each reached double figures with 12 and 11 points, respectively, for Vermilion Catholic (17-3, 3-1), whose seven-game winning streak was snapped.
Both teams will meet again on Feb. 4 in Abbeville.

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