A strange start to a non-district girls basketball contest ultimately ended to Airline’s liking on Tuesday night on Bossier City’s Viking Drive.
The Lady Vikings overcame a near double-digit deficit in the fourth quarter to upend Ruston High 47-44. Tasha Shiflett’s 3-pointer with about a minute remaining provided the difference.
“We knew Ruston had a very athletic team and we are both very similar offensively,” Airline coach David Duhon said. “That was probably our best offensive rebounding game of the season. If we don’t have Hannah (Brewster) and Destiney (Wesley) in there, we probably don’t win the game.”
Both players came off the bench to provide critical buckets and rebounds for Airline, which trailed the Lady Bearcats 40-31 after Latansia Waldon converted a layup to open the final frame.
Three consecutive steals and layups from Airline’s Kei McCoy followed Waldon’s bucket and pulled the Lady Vikings (9-9) within 40-37 midway through the fourth. McCoy went to work again at the two-minute mark with another pair of steals, which set up Shiflett to tie the game with a free throw at the 1:44 mark. After Shiflett’s 3-pointer, McCoy sank a pair of free throws with 40 seconds remaining to seal the deal.
“We are just not a very consistent team right now,” Ruston coach Doc Hoefler said. “Coach Duhon had his team well-coached and ready for us. We couldn’t get the easy shots tonight that we usually get.”
The game began with a Ruston barrage that came with a bucket by the Lady Bearcats’ Aaliyah Jones off the opening tip. Ruston (11-7) bolted to a 12-0 advantage and seemed prepared to run away with the game in the first quarter.
Brewster converted one free throw five minutes into the contest for Airline’s first points. But the Lady Vikings reeled off 15 more unanswered when Jasmyn Carswell and Wesley came alive inside off feeds from Madison Rowland. Two minutes into the second quarter, Airline had erased the deficit and was in front 15-12.
“All three of Destiney’s points came off putbacks, so that was critical,” Duhon said. “Then Jasmyn took over inside. She really got after it. She is a proud girl and she really took the game on her shoulders.”
It was McCoy’s drives to the bucket that put the visitors away.
“It was a very physical game, but Kei can drive to the bucket on anyone,” Duhon said. “In a game like this, she can just get around people.”
Carswell and McCoy finished with 15 points apiece to lead Airline, while Jones led Ruston with 9.