The South Lafourche girls’ basketball team is going to the Second Round of the Class 5A State Playoffs. To get there, they had to endure 32 minutes of tough, hard-fought basketball against an incredibly competitive St. Joseph’s Academy squad.
The Lady Tarpons and Red Stickers went toe-to-toe like prized fighters for the duration of Thursday night’s game, which was played before a jam-packed crowd at South Lafourche’s gym in Galliano.
Down 46-44 heading into the fourth quarter, South Lafourche finished with a bang, using a fourth quarter flurry to secure a 53-48 win.
With the win, the No. 15 Lady Tarpons will move to the second round for a road date with No. 2 Walker.
But all of the talk on Thursday night was about the opening round win – an exciting time for South Lafourche and its players.
“That was a heck of a game,” South Lafourche coach Rainie Terrebonne said. “There were ups and downs and then more ups and then more downs. In the end, we finished on the top. I am so happy for our kids. I am so proud of our team for winning this first playoff game.”
It wasn’t easy.
From the get-go, St. Joseph’s proved to South Lafourche that they were a worthwhile adversary. The Red Stickers led 15-14 after the first quarter, using balanced scoring and timely, well-designed offensive sets to secure the lead. A total of five St. Joseph’s players scored in the opening eight minutes of play, an offensive balance that kept the Lady Tarpons’ defense out of rhythm.
For South Lafourche, an unsung hero led the way, as junior center Breigh Cheramie pitched in 6 in the opening period to keep her team close. She came off the bench played the lion’s share of the minutes in the first half after freshmen Victorianna Nelson picked up two quick fouls and had to sit down.
“Breigh came off the bench and she did exceptionally well,” Terrebonne said. “She’s coming around and doing a great job. When Vic got in foul trouble, she came up big tonight.”
In the second quarter, South Lafourche seemed to be poised to run away with it, using a couple steals and transition buckets to take a six-point lead with a few minutes to play in the first half.
But just when South Lafourche started to take control, St. Joseph’s snatched it right back, using a couple 3-pointers to push the game to halftime tied 30-all.
Red Stickers coach DeLynn Stelly said she told her team before the game to prepare for chaos, as the Lady
Tarpons are known for a fast-paced, frenetic type of play.
She said she was “thrilled” with the effort that she got from her players early-on, while playing in an atmosphere she described as college-like.
“They’re a scrappy little team. That’s the word everyone kept using to describe them,” Stelly said. “I was worried it would take us a while to adjust to that, but we did a really good job coming out and playing well from the get-go to put us in a good position.”
In the second half, St. Joseph’s struck first, roaring to four-point third quarter lead thanks to a couple buckets from dynamic post player Caroline Olivier, who led the Red Stickers with 16 points. But South Lafourche fought back, using 10 combined points in the quarter from Nelson and fellow freshman Traya Bruce to head to the fourth quarter down 46-44.
Bruce led all scorers with 17, while Nelson pitched in 8 in limited minutes.
The fourth quarter was ugly and physical, as the officials called the action a tad more loosely than they did in the first three.
The Lady Tarpons thrived in the physicality, holding the Red Stickers without a field goal for the entire final eight minutes of play – a smothering defensive attack that allowed South Lafourche to both take the lead and keep it.
Junior guard Brinkley Callais was huge in the final surge, using hustle on both offense and defense to secure both possessions and points for the Lady Tarpons.
Callais had four of the Lady Tarpons’ nine points in the final quarter. She had 13 points for the game, and countless other steals, rebounds and hustle plays that led to jump balls and/or transition opportunities.
Callais said the crowd powered her performance, touting that, “it’s hard not to play with intensity when the fans are that loud.”
Whatever it was, Stelly said Callais was a difference maker.
“She was everywhere,” Stelly said. “She disrupted everything we were doing.”
With the win, South Lafourche will now get its shot at redemption. The Lady Tarpons will travel to take on No. 2 Walker on Monday night – the same team that ended South Lafourche’s season in the opening round of the playoffs one year ago.
Terrebonne was coy when asked about Walker, touting that she hadn’t seen any film yet on her next foe.
Callais was a little more talkative on the subject, touting that the Lady Tarpons remember last year’s game and want to flip the scoreboard around this time.
“We didn’t like losing to them last year,” Callais said. “We know we have to work hard to get ready for Monday, but we definitely are aiming for a better outcome this time, for sure.”
Walker's address is 12646 Burgess Avenue, Walker, LA 70785 for those who are looking to make the trip Monday night.
South Lafourche freshman Traya Bruce led all scorers with 17 in the Tarpons’ playoff win against St. Joseph’s Academy Thursday night.
Posted on Fri, February 20, 2015
by Gazette Sports Reports