The last time the Evangel Lady Eagles had a shot at making the state semifinals, Lady Techster great Amanda Wilson was roaming the sidelines and Bo Roberts had just quit coaching the team to become chief of the Shreveport Fire Department.
Those were the good ol’ days of Evangel girls’ basketball, although the team has re-emerged of late behind super sophomore Tiara Young, Breonna Frierson and the Laboy twins, Madison and Meagan.
It appeared coach Meoka Young’s team might make the LHSAA’s March Madness in Hammond next week after getting a double bye to the Division I quarterfinals. But even though they hosted Scotlandville on Thursday night on Broadacres Road, they never developed much urgency and fell 53-39 with the best player in school history and the former fire chief who raised her looking on.
“We didn’t have much fire. It’s a tough loss,” Young said. “We started slow, then picked it up in the middle and then went down again.”
It was a dark Thursday overall for girls’ basketball teams in northwest Louisiana. Three-time defending Class 2A champ North Caddo lost, along with Red River, Southwood, Loyola, Huntington, Homer, Stanley, Zwolle, Cedar Creek, and Stanley. Natchitoches Central, Arcadia and Florien were among the few winners heading to Hammond.
The only varsity basketball game in town brought out a number of noteworthy visitors getting one of the final tastes of basketball for the season. Bossier coach Jeremiah Williams, Fair Park coaches Cherise Sims and Eddie Hamilton Jr., Byrd coach Toni Martinez and former Evangel boys coach Reni Mason (Louisiana College) were among the attendees.
Maybe it was the two-week layoff, but the Lady Eagles (23-9) simply didn’t put forth the effort needed to get by a Lady Hornets’ team that had the passion to advance. Scotlandville won the rebounds, won the 50-50 balls and simply out-scrambled the Lady Eagles for the possessions that counted the most.
“We had quite a few days off and that gave us enough time to find the things we needed to focus on to be successful tonight,” Scotlandville coach Nikeya Walker said. “We came out with a lot of intensity and kept working hard.”
The Lady Hornets (12-18) got the lead in the first 15 seconds and held it until Young scored four consecutive points for a 22-21 advantage with 53 seconds remaining in the first half. Young scored 20 of her team’s 24 points in the first half as the teams entered the locker room tied.
Evangel scored five straight points to open the second half, but the visitors roared back behind Karlena Keller, who scored 25 points on the night. The Lady Eagles’ last lead came at 34-32 with 1:23 left in the third quarter. The Lady Hornets reeled off a 13-2 run to end the third quarter and start the fourth to push the hosts into too deep a deficit. Young (28 points, 11 rebounds) was held to just 8 points in the second half.
“I believe it came down to who wanted it more,” Young said. “But we had a great season. It just didn’t end the way we wanted it to.”