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Wednesday, June 19, 2019

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SL girls fall in close, hard-fought tilt with Walker

SL girls fall in close, hard-fought tilt with Walker

Two points. Just two stinkin’ points.

That’s all that stood in the way of the South Lafourche girls’ basketball team and a spot in the LHSAA Class 5A State Quarterfinals.

The No. 15 Lady Tarpons competed hard, but fell to No. 2 Walker on Monday night – a back and forth battle that was a fight to the finish with several lead changes and momentum shifts throughout the action.

When the final buzzer screamed, two points decided the outcome, as Walker walked away with a 55-53 win. The loss ends South Lafourche’s season with a 25-7 record. But while disappointed with the outcome, Lady Tarpons’ coach Rainie Terrebonne didn’t have a negative word to say about neither her team, nor the season – touting both as significant successes.

South Lafourche had four underclassmen in its starting lineup this season, including two freshmen. They played competitively with several of the top teams in Louisiana – including Walker, who needed every bit of 32 minutes to put the Lady Tarpons away.

“I’m extremely proud of these girls,” Terrebonne said. “We were overall a young team with only two seniors. We shocked a lot of our opponents with our style of play. I’m just so very proud of these girls for everything they’ve done.”

The Lady Tarpons weren’t far away from beating one of the best teams in the state.

South Lafourche and Walker were neck-and-neck throughout the game, which was never comfortably led on either side.

Walker enjoyed a 16-10 advantage after the first quarter, using a 6-0 run to close out the quarter. Freshmen Traya Bruce and Victorianna Nelson showed right away that they weren’t fearful of the big moment. Together, the duo scored seven of the team’s 10 points in the period. Junior Brinkley Callais added the rest with a 3-pointer.

The second quarter was mostly a stalemate with the teams trading buckets for most of the way. When it was all said and done, Walker headed to the lockers with a 27-21 lead.

Terrebonne said the Lady Tarpons shifted their offensive scheme before the game to counter the pressure defense Walker presents.

Those adjustments really started to work in the second half.

Out of the lockers, the Lady Tarpons surged forward and used balanced scoring to take a 34-32 lead into the final quarter.

Balanced scoring was critical to the run, as five players scored in the surge, including junior post Breigh Cheramie, who had four of her six points in the period.

“I thought we played well tonight,” Terrebonne said. “We changed some things up on the offensive side of the ball to break their press and to find holes in their defense.”

In the end, they just didn’t make enough shots – close, easy shots.

Terrebonne said that just about every time South Lafourche had a chance to make a run to take a decent-sized lead, they’d miss a layup or open shot – possessions the team has cashed in on throughout the season.

That offensive inefficiency allowed Walker to regain control of the game in the final minutes to secure the win.

South Lafourche had its chances late, but they were never able to retake the lead in the final minutes, sealing the deal for the No. 2 team in Class 5A.

When it was all over, junior guard Caroline Guilbeau paced South Lafourche with 15 points, while Bruce and Callais pitched in 12 and 11, respectively.

But they’d all trade just about anything to have two more points to their tally, as that one, big bucket eluded the Lady Tarpons throughout the flow of the game.

“We missed layups and shots around the goal that usually go in,” Terrebonne said when asked what allowed the outcome of the game to swing Walker’s way. “A few times on defense, we lost the top shooter, and that kind of hurt us a little bit, as well.”

But fortunately for the Lady Tarpons, the future still looks pretty bright.

With the 2014-15 season now put to bed, Terrebonne said she is already focused on the future. The coach said on the ride back to Galliano on Monday night that she would get a good night’s rest on Monday to reset her mind and flush away the painful loss to end the season.

But once that’s done, she said she’s full steam ahead on 2015-16 – a year that looks to be pretty good for the Lady Tarpons.

South Lafourche will return five of their seven primary contributors from this past season, including Guilbeau and Callais, who will now shift into the role of senior leaders. They will also have back Bruce and Nelson, who will be sophomores with a full season of starting under their belts.

Combine that with a dominant junior varsity and freshman squad coming up, and Terrebonne thinks everything looks pretty good from here on-in.

Of course, that doesn’t mean much right now for anyone involved with the program who is still stuck on the fact that it was just two stinkin’ points that stood in the team’s way.

“We will be back strong next year,” Terrebonne said.