Bench, underclassmen spark Lady Cardinals


E.D. White Catholic's Michae Jones (center) and Erath's Caitlin Domingues (left) and Sydney Richardelle (right) chase down a loose ball in Monday's Class 3A bi-district playoff game in Thibodaux (Photo by Abby Tabor/Staff)


All season long, E.D. White Catholic has relied on seniors Jordan Gros and Genna Larose to lead them to victory.

In Monday's Class 3A bi-district playoff game against Erath, Gros and Larose had to rely on the Lady Cardinals' underclassmen to give the seniors at least one more game to play.

With its bench providing a spark in the second quarter and the ability of eighth grader Michae Jones to penetrate and get to the free-throw line, E.D. White took a 52-38 victory over Erath advancing to the Class 3A regional round.

The Lady Cardinals, the No. 7 seed, will host Caldwell Parish, the No. 10 seed, in a regional playoff game tentatively slated for Thursday with the time to be determined.

Caldwell Parish defeated Church Point, the No. 23 seed, 42-36, on Monday.

It was a struggle for both teams on offense in the first quarter, but the Lady Cardinals (24-5 overall) held a 10-6 advantage.

Erath (16-15) did well in limiting Gros' touches in the paint and shadowing Larose on the perimeter, but that defensive strategy opened up shots for others and junior Emily Weimer took advantage of the opportunity.

After Erath, the No. 26 seed, made it a 10-8 score, Weimer hit a layup for a 12-8 lead then Jones made a free throw for a 13-8 score. Weimer took advantage of Erath's sagging defense and drained a 3-pointer putting the Lady Cardinals up 16-8 with 4:19 on the second-quarter clock.

Erath did make it an 18-15 score after Ashley Dubois made a 3-pointer at the 3:03 mark, but E.D. White responded with a 5-0 spurt to close the second quarter with a 23-15 lead.

To start the third quarter, E.D. White coach Darin Fontz shuffled his lineup with Larose in foul trouble, so he started Michelle Riviere, and the sophomore responded.

After Weimer converted a steal into a layup and a 25-15 E.D. White lead, Riviere added consecutive buckets to push the advantage to 29-18 with 4:26 on the clock.

Fontz gave credit to Riviere (10 points) and junior Xylynn Garnet who both came off the bench and provide a spark on both ends of the floor for his team.

"Our bench was huge. You know Michelle came off the bench, and it gave us a good mismatch with her quickness against their post players. She took advantage of it, and it gave us a spark especially when we had trouble scoring," Fontz said. "We needed our bench because we had both Genna and Jordan foul out in the fourth quarter. I tell (the bench) all the time it could be you making those free throws in crunch time. Luckily we did make our free throws because we did struggle at times."

With both Larose and Gros watching from the bench, it was Riviere and Jones that gave the Lady Cardinals a 38-23 lead at the end of the third quarter.

Erath cuts its deficit to 31-23, with two minutes left in the third quarter, but Jones used her penetration to draw a foul and made two free throws for a 33-23 lead.

Riviere made it a 35-23 advantage when she drove the baseline and pulled up for a short jumper with a minute showing on the clock.

Jones (15 points) again took her defender off the dribble, but this time she drew a foul while making a layup. The three-point play gave the Lady Cardinals a 15-point lead to start the fourth quarter.

Erath struggled to make shots against E.D. White's defense, but the Lady Cats did have one run in the fourth quarter to make it a seven-point game.

Trailing 42-29, Erath went on a 6-0 run to cut E.D. White's lead to 42-35 after Gabby Harrington (16 points) made two free throws with 2:45 left to play.

It was at that point when Jones started to push the gaps of Erath's defense, and she drew fouls on consecutive trips.

Jones made 2-of-4 free throws for a 44-35 lead, then Riviere drew a foul and made her two attempts regaining the momentum for the Lady Cardinals with a 46-35 lead and 1:34 left to play.

The Lady Cardinals ended the game with a layup by Emily Sauce for the 52-38 victory.

Jones said she was not surprised with how the bench responded after Gros and Larose got into foul trouble.

"When they were out with fouls, the next person has to step up and play. You have to give it your all because they are our seniors, and we had to step up," Jones said. "We wanted to drive and pressure them and keep scoring and take the lead. The free throws were huge. Free throws and defense win ball games."

E.D. White made 16-of-25 from the free-throw line to go with making 17-of-34 from the field.

Erath struggled to make shots, making 9-of-33 from the field.

"Defense has always been our strong point, and it takes us awhile to get going on offense. We are working on that, and we will continue to work on that. We gave a lot of effort; it was just the small things we didn't take care of," Erath coach Andrea Bernard said. "He had some other players step up that we didn't expect. That can happen especially in a playoff game, but I think we executed our game plan just fine. We just needed to hit a few more shots early in the game."

CLASS 3A BI-DISTRICT PLAYOFFS

NO. 8 LOYOLA PREP 54, N0. 25 ST. JAMES 41

At Shreveport, St. James trailed 29-11 at halftime and never recovered in Monday's playoff loss.

The Lady Wildcats started slow and trailed 16-8 after the first quarter, before getting out scored 13-3 in the second quarter to trail by 18 points at halftime.

Loyola Prep extended its lead to 41-22 at the end of the third quarter. The Lady Wildcats did outscore Loyola Prep 19-11 in the fourth quarter for the 13-point defeat.

Tytiana Joseph scored 21 points for the Lady Wildcats.

CLASS 1A BI-DISTRICT PLAYOFFS

No. 1 WEST ST. JOHN 86, No. 32 HOUMA CHRISTIAN 19

At Edgard, the Lady Rams took an early lead and never looked back against the Lady Warriors.

West St. John led 31-2 at the end of the first quarter, 50-7 at halftime and 71-13 at the end of the third quarter.

Hannah Naquin led Houma Christian (9-10) with seven points, while Faith Pierce and Kira Coleman each scored five points.