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Wednesday, September 18, 2019

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Lady Tarpons cruise into Round of 16

Lady Tarpons cruise into Round of 16

The South Lafourche girls’ basketball team is young, far less experienced than in years past. Just a handful of the team’s players significantly contributed to last year’s run to the Top 28 and the team plays four freshmen and several underclassmen in many varsity games.

So it’s only natural that a young team would have a case of the jitters early in Thursday night’s Class 4A State Playoff opening-round game between the Lady Tarpons and Carencro.

But when those nerves calmed and the team settled into the game, goodness, what a show!

South Lafourche rolled past Carencro 57-31 on Thursday night, clinching a spot in the second-round of the Class 4A State Playoffs.

The Lady Tarpons and Lady Bears were gridlocked in a 4-all tie midway through the first quarter when the light switch flipped, first with a 3-pointer from freshman Ava Pitre and then an offensive onslaught, a 16-2 run over four minutes capped by a buzzer-beater 3-pointer by junior Makayla Bynum to put the team up 20-6 after a quarter.

South Lafourche never looked back, roaring to a 37-8 halftime lead before pulling out of its pressure defense in the second half to secure the win.

Lady Tarpons coach Rainie Terrebonne said before the game that South Lafourche had to play its best to beat a Carencro team that entered the game having won 7 out of its past 10 games.

For about a 10-12-minute stretch in the first half, they did, leaving no doubt and punching a ticket to the second round.

“We started kind of slow, but once we got going, we got going,” Terrebonne said after the win.

That, they did.

Carencro pressed South Lafourche early, causing a bit of a sluggish start to the game on both sides.

Terrebonne called an early first-quarter timeout to ease her team into the game. Whatever she said worked.

Pitre started hitting, scoring 13 first-half points with several deep 3-pointers. Senior Sierra Lerille hurt the Lady Bears from the mid-range, as well, scoring on penetration.

Also big were Bynum with points and assists, Evan Duet with hustle and motor, as well as post players Abigail Bouzigard, Madelyn Bourgeois and Nalaysia Mack, who all kept the Lady Bears off the glass. Madison Ryan pitched in quality first-half minutes, as well.

In the second half, the Lady Tarpons got a bit sluggish, allowing Carencro to chip the 29-point halftime lead down into the low-20s a few times.

But Terrebonne said South Lafourche didn’t press at all in the second half, which caused a slower-paced, more half court-heavy game, a style that’s not in favor of the Lady Tarpons.

But even while playing at a different pace, South Lafourche still ballooned its lead back into the 30s in the fourth quarter before relenting a little late.

With the win, South Lafourche now moves to the second-round of the Class 4A State Playoffs, a feat many did not expect possible from this team in the preseason given the large senior class that departed last year.

On Monday night, the Lady Tarpons will host No. 9 Salmen, a far stiffer test.

Terrebonne said South Lafourche will work on all facets of their game before then, but added quickly that the team would also spend a little time on Thursday night enjoying the moment and relishing the postseason win.

“For all the haters out there who didn’t think we could do it, we did it,” Terrebonne said. “So now, we’ve got to get ready for the second round and see what’s going to happen. Let the chips fall where they may.”


Tarpon boys close with a bang

The 2018-19 season will not be a playoff campaign for the Tarpons boys’ basketball team. But no one will ever be able to say that the team stopped competing.

They have the late-season wins to prove it.

The Tarpons won their final two games of the 2018-19 season this week, first beating South Terrebonne 39-31 on Tuesday, then CCA 67-37 on Thursday night.

The Tarpons will end the season with a 12-15 record, just outside of the Top 32 teams in the Class 4A power rankings.

Coach Brian Callais said during a recent radio interview that he’s proud of a youthful team for constantly competing and working hard to get better throughout the season.

“We continued to get better,” Callais said. “And we told the guys, ‘Look, we’re young, but we have a good team here.’ Where we were at the beginning of the season compared to now, we’ve made a big leap forward.”

South Lafourche sang farewell to three seniors this season, Jake Galjour, Trey Gallagher and Alex LaFont, young men Callais said will be hard to replace on and off the floor.

But the Tarpons will return several contributing players, as well, and on paper, will be a team capable of having a winning season next season.