Vandy turns up pressure in win


Vandebilt Catholic's Laci LeBlanc (13) drives to the basket past a pair of West Ouachita defenders during Monday's playoff game. (Photo by Benjamin Oliver Hicks/Staff)


When Vandebilt Catholic's girls basketball team needed a little boost on offense, it turned to its defense.

In its Class 4A bi-district round playoff game on Monday, Vandebilt put some serious pressure on West Ouachita's ball-handlers, which led to quick turnovers, easy baskets in transition and a 63-25 victory over the Lady Chiefs.

Vandebilt, the third-seeded team in the Class 4A playoffs, advanced to the regional round where it will travel to face No. 19 Huntington game on Thursday. The time of the game will be released today.

In the first quarter against No. 30 West Ouachita, Vandebilt struggled to contain the Lady Chiefs' 6-foot-1 freshman center Trinity Griffin, who gave the visitors an early 8-7 lead when she scored on a second-chance opportunity.

Vandebilt's Jewel Triggs provided a spark when she hit a 3-pointer and later added a three-point play on a lay-up and free-throw that helped put the Lady Terriers ahead 15-8 at the end of the first quarter.

In an effort to prevent the Lady Chiefs from getting the ball inside to Griffin, the Lady Terriers stepped up their defensive pressure by targeting West Ouachita's ball-handlers.

Vandebilt (26-4 overall) succeeded on its mission by forcing 11 of West Ouachita's 23 total turnovers in the second quarter, leading to 38-10 halftime lead for the Lady Terriers.

Vandebilt went on a 23-2 run in the second quarter, getting most of their points off of turnovers.

"I thought our defense was our best offense in the second quarter," Vandebilt coach Kathy Luke said. "We turned a lot of their turnovers into points. Once we got in rhythm and put them in a tough spot, we really took care control of the game."

West Ouachita, which capped off its first playoff appearance in 13 years with a 15-17 record, got several baskets in the paint during the third quarter, but it wasn't enough to cut into the lead. Vandebilt's Cassidy Barrios, Sade Murrell and Shakira Harding all scored on jumpers or fastbreak lay-ups that increased the advantage to 50-18 at the end of the third quarter.

Leading scorers for Vandebilt were Barrios (21 points), Triggs (17 points), Harding (10 points) and Murrell (six).

Lady Chiefs coach Jimbo Murphy said his team hoped to slow the game down and get the ball inside to Griffin (14 points), but Vandebilt's pressure was just too much to handle.

"They are a well-coached team," Murphy said. "The gameplan was to try to get the ball inside and score, but they made adjustments. We just didn't make any shots, and the game started to get away from us. They play good defense, and they are fundamentally sound. They were able to get a lot of easy baskets that hurt us."

Triggs said the Lady Terriers were extra motivated to open the playoffs on a high note against West Ouachita. They hope the big win will set the tone for more success in upcoming playoff games.

"We knew if you lose a game in the playoffs, you are out, so we were ready to play," Triggs said. "We have four seniors (Harding, Murrell, Jasmine Howard and Laci LeBlanc). This is their last year, so we're trying to work hard and win for them."

Luke said she was pleased with the win, but as a 27-year coaching veteran, she knows the playoffs will continue to get harder each round.

"We've got practice (today) and we've got to work on some things we need to improve on," Luke said. "We've got some kids that are injured. We're not full strength right now. We have just a couple of days to prepare for our next opponent, so we have work to do."

CLASS 4A BI-DISTRICT PLAYOFFS

No. 16 BROADMOOR 46, No. 17 ELLENDER 42

At Baton Rouge, the Lady Patriots capped their season with a 16-7 record.

Ellender led 6-4 after the first quarter, but Broadmoor bounced back to take leads of 25-23 at halftime and 39-34 at the end of the third quarter.

Sage Scott and Sky Jasper each led Ellender with eight points, while Shakira Bingham, Kiara Scott and Taima Danos added seven each.

CLASS 5A BI-DISTRICT PLAYOFFS

NO. 10 SCOTLANDVILLE 63, NO. 23 THIBODAUX 17

At Baton Rouge, Scotlandville raced out to 16-8 first-quarter lead and never looked back in Monday's playoff game.

The Lady Hornets led 32-11 at halftime and 48-13 after three quarters.

Eris Stove led the Lady Tigers (18-11) with five points.

CLASS 5A BI-DISTRICT PLAYOFFS

No. 6 SULPHUR 57, No. 27 TERREBONNE 35

At Sulphur, the Lady Tigers' season ended with a 17-13 record.

Sulphur led 19-11 after the first quarter, 35-17 at halftime and 43-26 at the end of the third quarter.

Waneka Robinson led Terrebonne with 12 points, and Roynisha James added seven.