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Sunday, June 16, 2019

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Bruce muscles Lady Tarpons past Abbeville in opening round of playoffs

Bruce muscles Lady Tarpons past Abbeville in opening round of playoffs

With three minutes down and 29 minutes to go in Thursday night’s Class 4A Playoff Game between South Lafourche and Abbeville, the scoreboard at the Lady Tarpons’ gym had an unfriendly look for the massive home crowd. It read, Home: 0, Away: 2.

What happened after that was a little more pleasant for the masses in attendance who were antsy to cheer for the home team.

After surrendering the opening basket of the game, South Lafourche dominated the rest of the game, surging out to a huge first quarter lead on the way to a lopsided 85-18 win.

Junior guard Traya Bruce was superb in the win, scoring a career-high 39 points, attacking Abbeville’s defense with an array of moves and the ability to score both inside and out.

Lady Tarpons coach Rainie Terrebonne said the point guard was “flawless.”

Bruce shrugged it off, and offered a simple explanation.

“It’s the playoffs,” she said. “There’s no mercy.”

She then added, “I knew I had to play well for my team, and we got off to a slow start, but then we got in rhythm. From there, we knew there was no way we’d let up.”

The Lady Tarpons didn’t let up – at all. South Lafourche answered Abbeville’s opening basket with a 3-pointer by freshman Makayla Bynum, then it was off to the races.

The Lady Tarpons scored 17-straight points after Abbeville’s 2-0 lead to roll to a 17-2 advantage at the end of the first quarter.

Terrebonne said her team was a little amped up to start the game – something she attributes to the high-stakes of postseason play, and also a nine-day layoff the Lady Tarpons had between the end of the regular season and Thursday night’s game.

“We were a little jittery early,” Terrebonne said. “The girls were excited – so excited to play. But we just hadn’t played in a while, so we were just trying to do a little bit too much. Once we settled in, we played well, and we’re proud of the girls for doing that.”

In the second quarter, the Lady Tarpons put Abbeville to bed early, using tenacious defense and quick hitting offense to roll out to a 43-11 halftime lead.

Bruce was a huge culprit in that surge, scoring 26 first-half points, including a 3-pointer at the buzzer.

Abbeville coach Jeffery Davis said his team had watched the Lady Tarpons on film before the game, so they were well aware of how good Bruce was before playing Thursday night’s game.

But Bruce’s intensity, Davis said, was the difference on Thursday night.

“She scored. We couldn’t stop her from scoring,” he said. “Then, when we did stop her from scoring, it was only because she was making a pass and setting up someone else to score. You tell me she had 39 points, well, I’m telling you that she must have had 15 assists, too. She was outstanding. She is a terrific player. We didn’t have much we could throw at her that she didn’t have an answer for tonight.”

In the second half, South Lafourche kept their foot on the gas, rolling to a 66-15 lead after the third quarter, which led to a lot of action for reserves in the fourth quarter.

But even with a backup-heavy lineup, the Lady Tarpons pushed the ball and had success, sending the game to its final margin.

Bynum scored 10 for South Lafourche and Abigail Bouzigard pitched in 8.

With the win, South Lafourche will host LaGrange in the second round of the playoffs. That game will also take place in Galliano.

Terrebonne said she wants the Tarpon faithful to pack the house and show their support in Monday’s game.

The Lady Tarpons have made the second round of the playoffs in two-straight seasons, but have never gotten to the third round under Terrebonne. This, however, will be the first time that second-round game will be at home.

“It’s here this time, and we need the support,” Terrebonne said. “We want as big a crowd as possible.”

Bruce shares the same sentiment.

“It’s going to be a big night,” she said. “We’ll be ready. We’re going to believe in ourselves, stick together, and we’re going to be ready.”