Defense propels Green Oaks to second round

Opportunistic defense has been a calling card for the Green Oaks, and the No. 12 Lady Giants smothered No. 21 Parkview Baptist en route to a 49-35 home win in the first round of the Class 3A playoffs.

Green Oaks forced 30 turnovers to negate Parkview’s size advantage, turning enough of those Lady Eagles’ mistakes into points.

“Defense is our number one strength, and we know if we’ve got defense, the offense will come,” said senior Princess Davis. “We don’t worry about our offense too much.

“We always say that speed is our advantage. We’re not a big team, but we can run.”

The Lady Giants ran away from Parkview with a 15-0 run to give the hosts a 23-6 lead with three minutes left in the second quarter.

Four different players contributed points during the run, including two of Janay Jones’ three 3-pointers.

Parkview suffered through a six-minute drought before ending the half on an 8-5 run as Green Oaks led 28-14.

“The pressure (defense) was huge,” said Green Oaks coach Shayla Canady. “You can score all the points you want, but if you can’t stop the other team from scoring, then there’s no point.

“These kids had a mindset that they were going to size up their competition and not let a bigger team have an advantage.”

Davis and Troynecia Wilson each scored a team-high 10 points while Jones chipped in nine.

Parkview’s Megan Hatch, one of the Lady Eagles’ leading scorers this season, had a game-high 12 points but sat most of the first half with foul trouble.

The Lady Eagles didn’t challenge in the second half, never coming closer than the 14-point halftime deficit.

Now Green Oaks (24-6) will play No. 5 Notre Dame in the second round.

Four seniors, which include Davis, Wilson, Artesha Elmore and Aalyah Robinson will making their third consecutive trip to the second round, losing the past two seasons.

“These seniors want to get over the hump,” Canady said. “We’re looking for any improvement over the past two seasons, and these seniors can taste it.

“We’re ready for more.”

ULM assistant coach E.J. Ok was in attendance for Davis, and Davis said she’s all but made up her mind to play for the Warhawks.

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