The experience factor of having been there done that perhaps weighed more heavily into Monday’s second-round LHSAA Class 5A state playoff game between Captain Shreve and Southwood than some people believed going in.
Although the Lady Cowboys haven’t had a lot of deep playoff runs in recent years, they have pedigree when it comes to the postseason. The Lady Gators are the new kids on the block and they discovered that life fact the hard way on their own court Monday night.
Southwood jumped out early with the in-the-paint size and never allowed Shreve to put together runs till late in the contest in rolling 61-44. Southwood’s prize for winning – a quarterfinal date at No. 1 Barbe.
“The expectations are high at Southwood. The girls know that,” coach Terry Josting said. “But having
already played them two times, we knew we needed to stop (Aaliyah Stevenson and Dezyre Black). The girls did a good job with that.”
Shreve coach Keith Greene spent most of his postgame speech consoling players who had become the first Lady Gators’ (27-6) squad to win the District 1-5A title and a first-round playoff game in 50 years.
“I think it was lack of experience and they jumped on us early,” Greene said. “Our girls had that look of not being in a situation they were accustomed to. We had a great season and I told them to be thankful for what God has given us.”
Jaiylan Brown (16 points), Sheniqua Coatney (14) and Ah’million Cosby (14) were solid throughout the night for Southwood (24-7) on both ends of the court. Brown’s long arms allowed her to come away with near double-digit steals, while Coatney was slapping away shots with abandon when she wasn’t pulling down a rebound.
“We executed well on both ends and (Jaiylan) knocked down a couple of threes to help us out,” Coatney said. “It’s like a rivalry between us.”
Southwood led 16-10 at the end of one quarter, but a 14-0 run with buckets from six different Lady Cowboys in the middle of the second quarter put the team ahead by 20.
Southwood would eventually lead by 24 points after a Brown steal and layup with 3 minutes to play in the third quarter. But Shreve’s Kennedi Heard (15 points) knocked down a pair of 3-pointers to spark a 13-0 run to get the Lady Gators within 46-35 with about 7 minutes to play. But that’s as close as it would get. The Lady Cowboys closed the game with a 13-3 run and Shreve was forced to listen to the “Nahna Na Nah” song on their home court in front of a near capacity crowd.
“Shreve did a great job and we knew they’d be tough to beat on their own court,” Josting said. “We only have nine players so we were trying to keep a rotation going that would keep them fresh.”
Greene was left to think about next year.
“I feel bad for our three seniors who have been through thick and thin with us,” he said. “I wish we could have performed better.”