LECOMPTE — It was a physical, fought battle, but Rapides dug deep when it counted.
The Lady Mustangs remained undefeated Tuesday as they defeated Marksville, 56-46, to go to 8-0.
“We didn’t execute properly,” Rapides coach Shane Henderson said. “Marksville plays a physical game and it got us a little bit out of our game. We had a real bad practice yesterday and we talked about that.”
With the Lady Mustangs struggling late after a hot first half, they turned to freshman center Jaeden Vaifanua, who scored six of her 17 points in the fourth quarter. Her output, along with fellow freshman Naomi Lewis scoring 19 of her 20 points in the first half, helped them stave Marksville.
However, Henderson believed that they could have performed a bit better.
“Believe it or not, we actually got on them pretty hard,” Henderson said. “We know that they are going to score 20 and 17 points a game. I didn’t think they played up to their standards. We have such high expectations for them and they would be the first ones to tell you that they had way too many mistakes. That is just a product of them being good, but we expected a lot more out of them tonight.”
Without junior point guard Hazel Young, the Lady Tigers looked to Teona Barkley to shoulder the scoring load.
Barkley led Marksville with 23 points — 11 of those in the third quarter to help it pull within seven points from the lead.
Rapides will have a short turnaround this week as it travels to the northern part of the parish for the McDonald’s Invitational at Pineville and Tioga.
Its first game will be at Tioga Wednesday at 4 p.m. against Winnfield — the team that eliminated them in the Class 2A playoffs last season.
“It’s big rivalry between us and Winnfield,” Henderson said. “They knocked us out of the playoffs last year and we met them again this summer, so we know them and they know us. Whoever wins, it won’t be by many points. We know what we have tomorrow and that we have to come out and play well.”
The Lady Mustangs close the tournament with Peabody Thursday and Byrd Saturday. Both of those games will be at Pineville.