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Sunday, June 16, 2019

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Lady Tarpons fall to Northside in heartbreaker

Lady Tarpons fall to Northside in heartbreaker


The crowd was huge – most of them wearing Lady Tarpon blue. Junior standout guard Traya Bruce was lights out again for the third-straight playoff game. And a lot of Northside’s players were in foul trouble for a lot of the second half.

One would think that math would be favorable to South Lafourche, right? But the visiting team had other plans on Thursday night in the Class 4A State Quarterfinals. The Lady Vikings never faltered, nor cracked. Instead, they rode their trump card all the way to the Top 28 – a dominant rebounding advantage that the Lady Tarpons didn’t have an answer for in the final stages of the game.

Northside erased a five-point fourth quarter deficit in the blink of an eye, starting the final quarter on a 9-0 run to take the lead, before holding on late to secure a 60-57 road win.

The Lady Vikings pounded South Lafourche on the glass throughout the game, often getting second, third and even fourth looks at the basket to either score or draw fouls.

The rebounding efforts offset a 31-point performance from Bruce, who finished the season with three-straight 30-plus point games and 105 combined points in the playoffs.

Northside coach Amy Desormeaux said she’s proud of how her team executed its game plan – especially against a wild crowd.

After the game, she thanked her own team’s fans for support throughout the season. She said Northside plays home games before rowdy crowds, which allowed the Lady Vikings to stay poised early in the game when the crowd was at its loudest.

“We knew watching on film that we could outrebound them by a pretty big margin if we were aggressive enough,” Desormeaux said. “We attacked them. We weren’t passive. We attacked them. That’s what we wanted to do. We didn’t want to sit back. We had some lulls and we made some mistakes, but the kids did every single thing we asked them to do tonight. Their effort was fantastic. We could not in any way be prouder of these young ladies.”

The result wasn’t pleasing to locals, but Thursday night’s contest was one heck of a game for fans of high school basketball.

Northside showed it meant business early. The Lady Vikings got quality looks early in the game, utilizing the baseline and the post to hold an early lead.

But South Lafourche battled back, getting early offense from Bruce, but also from Elizabeth Curole, Kyzha Jackson, Mak Bynum and Abigail Bouzigard to take a five point lead late in the second quarter.

But the Lady Vikings took momentum into the lockers, using a pair of late-quarter jumpers to trim the Lady Tarpons lead to 30-28 at halftime.

“We’d make a run. They’d make a run. We just never could pull away and get a big advantage,” South Lafourche girls’ basketball coach Rainie Terrebonne said. “We missed some opportunities. Too many opportunities.”

In the third quarter, the pace got sloppy. Neither team scored for two-plus minutes to start the quarter – each squad struggling with close misses and unforced errors.

But late in the quarter, South Lafourche looked like it was taking control – mostly thanks to Bruce.

The junior guard was absolutely unreal on Thursday, using every single move in the text book to juke and jive past a Lady Vikings defense that had its full attention on where she was at all times.

Bruce scored a ton, yes. But when she wasn’t scoring, she was setting up others to score, dropping beautiful passes to the block for Bouzigard, Kacey Rousse, Sierra Lerille and others to take advantage of.

Bruce made two free throws in the final seconds of the period, which gave the Lady Tarpons a 43-38 lead with eight minutes to play.

But then the game changed.

In the final quarter, the well went dry for the Lady Tarpons offense. And on the other end, Northside took complete control of the paint, getting multiple looks at the basket to spark a 9-0 run, which gave them a 47-43 lead.

South Lafourche battled back and tied the game at 47, but then Northside took it back again with another spurt – this time a 6-0 run, which pushed the lead to 53-47.

The Lady Tarpons made it interesting in the final minutes and fouled out two Northside players, but they never could get enough going offensively to take back control of the game. South Lafourche made just one field goal in the eight-minute quarter – a last-second layup by Bruce.

Northside polished the game away late at the free throw line, and a last-second shot by Bruce from halfcourt sailed short and ended the Lady Tarpons season and sent Northside to the Top 28.

After the game, Terrebonne said she is proud of her team for battling throughout the season and making it as far as they did.

“We made it really far. This team accomplished as much as almost any team in the history of the school,” Terrebonne said. “Nothing can ever take that away from them. This one game doesn’t define the remarkable season we’ve had. Now, we get to work in the offseason and try and get back again. We’re sad to see our seniors go, but we’re excited about what we have to work with next season. We believe the future is bright.”