Despite not connecting on a field goal in the first quarter, the North Caddo Lady Rebels rebounded for a 50-34 win over friendly foe Evangel on Wednesday night in Northwood’s gym in game not for the District 1-2A title. Well sort of.
The teams will officially go down in history as co-champs of the league, but the Louisiana High School Athletic Association requires a district champ and runner-up for state seeding purposes. Teams can choose to go with a coin flip, but the North Caddo and Evangel brain trust elected to go with a game at a neutral site.
The contest was played with the intensity to a second or third-round playoff game, after the teams split their regular-season meetings, decided by a total of three points.
“Their kids were saying they were better and our kids were saying we were better, so I guess we played this game to prove who was right,” North Caddo coach Ricky Evans said. “But that is a very good team over there.”
The first place team picks up a full point in the power ratings, which isn’t likely to mean much in the LHSAA seedings. Evangel was No. 4 and North Caddo No. 7 before the game, so they could simply flip-flop in the ratings.
“They won a game and we won a game, but at the end of the day there’s only one championship,” Evangel coach Meoka Young said.
The Lady Rebels (28-3) got just a pair of free throws from Ledetriha Sheppard in the first quarter, when their field goal attempts clanked off the iron. Evangel didn’t shoot much better, but a 3-pointer by Jalisa Lafitte near the end of the frame gave the Lady Eagles (25-7) a 9-2 advantage. Things changed dramatically in the second quarter when Sheppard (18 points) took charge, scoring 10 points as her team built a 20-15 lead.
North Caddo super freshman Jasmine Thomas (22 points) made things unbearable for Evangel in the third quarter, stealing passes and going the distance with a vengeance. She scored 10 points as the Lady Rebels moved in front 37-24 by the end of the frame. Sheppard’s runner and a 5-footer by Lafitte to open the fourth staked North Caddo to an insurmountable 17-point lead.
The loss overshadowed a strong performance by Evangel sisters Rachel and Leah Johnson. Leah turned in a double-double with 11 points and 11 boards, while Rachel controlled the point and penetrated for 8 points.
Young said despite the game not meaning a lot in the big scheme of things, it was good to get it in.
“Definitely. We’ll see a team like North Caddo in the playoffs, so playing this game should help both of us,” Young said.