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Sunday, July 21, 2019

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Lady Tarpons fall at St. Michael

Lady Tarpons fall at St. Michael

The South Lafourche girls’ basketball team picked the worst possible time to play its worst quarter of the season – the second round of the LHSAA Class 4A State Playoffs.

The No. 15-seed Lady Tarpons led No. 2 St. Michael 22-16 at halftime of Monday night’s game, which was played at the Warriors’ campus in Baton Rouge.

But instead of taking the momentum forward, South Lafourche crashed and burned, blowing the entire lead while scoring just three points in the third quarter en route to a 47-38 defeat.

The loss ends the Lady Tarpons season with a 25-8 record, and the sloppy third quarter is one that South Lafourche coach Rainie Terrebonne said she will replay in her mind for a long time coming.

“We couldn’t buy a basket,” Terrebonne said. “Our defense was very good tonight. Just in the second half, our shots weren’t falling. … They played us man-to-man, and we were able to get the shots that we wanted. Our shots just weren’t falling.”

Things were going pretty well early on for the Lady Tarpons.

South Lafourche started sluggishly and fell behind 7-2 early, but then owned the rest of the opening half. The one-two interior duo of Victorianna Nelson and Breigh Cheramie each gave big minutes in the opening half, which allowed the Lady Tarpons to lead by six at halftime – a margin set when Cheramie hit a runner as the clock expired in the second quarter.

She had eight of her 10 points in the opening half. Nelson led all scorers with 13 points.

“Breigh did a great job again tonight,” Terrebonne said. “She stopped that big girl in the middle and came up with a few key offensive put backs for us.”

But even in the second quarter surge, the Lady Tarpons never were able to get their usually potent 3-point shooting to roll. They didn’t make a single three-ball in the first half and recorded just one during the ice-cold second half.

But perhaps the real problem was that right as South Lafourche got cold, St. Michael got hot.

The Lady Warriors overcame a slow start by outscoring the Lady Tarpons 11-3 in the third period to climb on top 27-25.

St. Michael then made the first run of the fourth quarter, storming ahead by as many as nine to seemingly put the game out of reach for good.

But the Lady Tarpons battled back, lifting their defensive intensity to generate the transition opportunities that had been missing throughout the game.

But in the end, a combination of savvy ball handling, top-notch foul shooting and smothering defense kept St. Michael on top and punched the Lady Warriors’ ticket into the Elite 8 in Class 4A.

Their coach, Tami Reynolds-McClure, said she was proud of her team’s ability to rally back. She said South Lafourche was “probably the best No. 15-seed in Louisiana.”

“They’re a really, really good basketball team,” Reynolds-McClure said. “Their fans are outstanding. They traveled so well and made it a wild environment for us – even at home. It was a great night, and I’m happy and grateful we came out on top.”

The loss ends the careers of South Lafourche’s four-member senior class (Cheramie, Brinkley Callais, Caroline Guilbeau and Megan Danos).

Terrebonne said she told the seniors after the game to keep their heads held high, because even though the team’s journey ended sooner than they wanted, it was still a ride that the team will remember forever.

“The four seniors are really special to me,” Terrebonne said. “They were sophomores when I came in, and I told them that they grew up together. I also told them that I’m very proud of the young ladies they have grown up to be in those three years. I will miss them greatly. … They were all a big part of the turnaround of Lady Tarpon basketball.”