Pillaging the Redemptorist Lady Wolves like so many Attilas the Hun, North Caddo bolted to a quick lead and rolled into the LHSAA Class 2A state semifinals with an 82-46 domination on Thursday night.
The Lady Rebels (32-1), left no stone unturned in front of a packed house, forcing 36 turnovers out of a young, but talented, Baton Rouge club. Speedsters Ledetriha Sheppard and Jasmine Thomas were the main culprits in forcing 10 turnovers in each of the first, second and third quarters.
“From the two tapes we watched we knew they were young and would struggle handling the pressure — and that’s what happened,” North Caddo co-head coach Rickey Evans said.
The Lady Rebs game-planned an attack that is hard to prepare for, especially if a team has just seven players, along with a couple of eighth graders in the stating lineup, as did the Lady Wolves (23-9).
“We allowed the refs to affect our emotions, but I’m proud of our girls because we went from last in our district last year to first,” Redemptorist coach Valencia Wilson said. “Not a one of these girls has playoff experience, but we made it to the quarterfinals. We just fell short.”
Top-ranked North Caddo, which didn’t lose a game on its home court for a second consecutive season, advances to the semifinals for the first time. The Lady Rebs will face Pickering (27-4), which got past Jonesboro-Hodge 58-51 on Thursday, at 6:15 p.m. Wednesday in Burton Coliseum in Lake Charles next week.
“It’s like a monkey off our backs to get there,” said Thomas, who scored 20 points. “We want to be state champions.”
The same could be said by senior Kassie Harris, who scored just 5 points, but was a disruptive force defensively with a keen eye for getting in passing lanes.
“It feels really good to get another win in the playoffs and to make it to Lake Charles,” Harris said. “I hope we can keep up the domination there.”
Fans started lining up before the doors opened at 5:15 for the 6:30 p.m. tip and filled the nearly 600-seat gymnasium in short order. North Caddo co-head coach Angela Channell was overcome with emotions following the game and needed assistance in the locker room.
“To say I’m excited might be an understatement,” Channell said. “After we lost in this round last year, when we felt we had the talent to keep going, was a big disappointment. But we were always confident this group could go.”
A McNeese-signee, Sheppard led the Lady Rebs with 23 points, while Keyarrea Easter added 13 and Sumer Williams 10. Their play allowed North Caddo to jump out to a 7-0 lead before the visitors could get on the board.
The Lady Wolves got a three-point play from leading scorer Chelsea Singleton (30 points) midway through the first quarter to pull within 12-7, but that was their last hurrah.
Behind 11 combined, unanswered points from Sheppard and Thomas to end the quarter, the Lady Rebs led 23-7 and never let the visitors back into the contest. The hosts led 43-16 at halftime and 67-33 after the third quarter.
Other area scores include Stanley 60, Simsboro 36; University 66, Mansfield 53; Doyle 64, Lakeview 63; Arcadia 62, Vermilion Catholic 59; Warren Easton 70, Fair Park 50; Lacassine 59, Castor 38