The Louisiana Lady Bulldogs had an up and down week, losing badly on the road and then winning a breath taker in the first round of the girls Class 2, District Basketball Tournament on their home floor. Louisiana is now 10-14 on the year.
The Lady Bulldogs started out flat against the Lady Birds in district play on Tuesday, Feb. 18 but built momentum with four scorers in double figures to take a see-saw, nail-biting victory.
“We knew it would be a close game,” said Louisiana Head Coach Craig Pedersen. “I would say that the game turned in the second quarter when we scored 28 points.
“We have really been struggling on the offensive end so for us to shoot the ball well in that quarter and go to the locker room up seven made us feel real good.
“We knew that we had to contain Cassidy Johnston.
“She was averaging over 19 points per game so we played a diamond and one box for most of the game and Denise and Batrice Blackwell did a great job on her.
The unexpected scorer for them was (Aimee) Ellyson. She scored an unexpected 27 points in this game with eight three-pointers.
“The game came down to free throws. Jenn Radcliff and Taylor Cunningham stepped up and hit four in a row at the end of the game.”
The Lady Birds led 12-6 at the end of the first quarter after numerous turnovers by Louisiana.
The second quarter was completely different, with the Lady Bulldogs pulling off a 28-15 run to take a 34-27 lead at the half.
Louisiana came out flat again in the third quarter and was outscored by the Lady Birds 16-8. That gave the lead back to South Shelby at 43-42 with one quarter to go.
It was back and forth in the fourth quarter, but the Lady Bulldogs managed to outscore the Lady Bulldogs 20-18 to preserve the one-point victory.
Louisiana junior guard Caitlin Bolton got hot, scoring 17 points to lead her team. Bolton knocked down five shots from beyond the three-point arc.
Senior center Radcliff hit five shots from the field and four of eight free throws for 14 points.
Freshman forward Denise Blackwell had 12 points by hitting five field goals and both of her free throws.
Freshman forward Cunningham had 10 points on four field goals and two-of-two shooting from the foul line. Sophomore guard Morgan Murry had nine points, including one three-pointer.
The Lady Bulldogs won’t be able to rest on their laurels in the second round of the tournament.
Louisiana will face off at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 20 against the Silex Lady Owls, who are ranked number one in the state.
The Lady Owls took Van-Far apart in the first round of the tourney on Feb. 18, 85-16 and used mostly bench players in the second half.
The winner of Wednesday’s game will go on to the district championship game against Clopton or Paris at 6 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 22. The losing team will see its season end.
The Lady Panthers put the defensive clamps on the Lady Bulldogs on Tuesday, Feb. 12 at Centralia.
The Lady Panthers set the tone early, leading 16-3 at the end of the first quarter. The second quarter was a defensive struggle with Centralia outscoring Louisiana 5-1 to make it 21-4 at the half.
Centralia didn’t let up with a 13-6 third quarter to push the lead to 34-10. The Lady Bulldogs outscored Centralia 11-10 in the fourth quarter but couldn’t make up the large, early gap.
“Defensively, we played a solid game,” Pedersen said. “When you hold a team to 42 points, you expect to be in the ball game.
“Offensively, the struggles continue. We had numerous six-foot shots that did not go in. The girls have to continue to shoot these shots as eventually, they will fall for them.”
Cunningham led the Lady Bulldogs with six points. Radcliff, Denise Blackwell and Murry all had four points apiece.