Girls Basketball Semifinals: Dream end for Ponchatoula and Easton while Curtis and Mount Carmel reach final

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The dream of a perfect season with a perfect ending came crashing down for a superb Ponchatoula squad Wednesday night in Hammond.

Benton may only be the 12th seed but the defending state champion Tigers growled loudly in a 58-48 victory over the top-seeded Lions in the LHSAA girls state semifinals at University Center.

The second time was the charm for Benton as Ponchatoula had whipped Benton 66-49 back on Dec. 5 in the Denham Springs Tournament.

Benton led 14-11 after one quarter but Ponchatoula came on strong in the second quarter to take a 26-25 halftime lead. The Green Wave actually had a 44-42 lead in the fourth quarter but the Lady Tigers dominated down the stretch, closing the game on a 16-4 run for the victory.

Jada Anderson stole the show for Benton, scoring 25 points with seven assists. Jada Stewart came up huge as well, dominating inside with eight points, 22 rebounds and three blocks. Riley Grace Stanford contributed 11 points and five rebounds. Ella Kate Malley had eight points, six rebounds and two steals.

Poor shooting doomed the Green Wave (31-1), who shot just 27.9 percent from the field. Junior Jaylee Womack led Ponchatoula with 12 points and 10 rebounds, Presley Walls had 10 points but fouled out in the fourth quarter and LSU signee Amoura Graves was held to eight points.

Benton (17-6) is in the title game for the third straight year and will take on District 1-5A rival and sixth seed Captain Shreve in the title game Saturday at 7:30 p.m. The Lady Gators (20-5), who won the 2019 Class 5A state championship, whipped No. 10 West Monroe 47-32.

Captain Shreve took a 14-5 lead after one quarter and it was 21-11 at the half.

Abilene Christian signee led Captain Shreve with 15 points and 12 rebounds and Arkansas State signee Kiarya Ellis had nine points and 18 rebounds.

In Class 4A, No. 1 LaGrange eliminated No. 4 Warren Easton 55-40, beating the Eagles in the semifinals for a second straight year by 15 points.

The game was tied 12-12 after one quarter but LaGrange led 26-17 by halftime and took a 45-27 lead into the final quarter.

Jeriah Warren led LaGrange with 20 points and 14 rebounds while Deja Tanks had 12 points and 10 rebounds and McKenzie Shaw had 12 points and eight rebounds.

Breanna Sutton had 16 points to lead Warren Easton (20-8).

The Gators (25-1) advance to the final to take on No. 2 Huntington Friday at 5 p.m.

Neville (22-3) led 9-8 after one quarter before Huntington (26-2) dominated the second quarter to grab a 24-14 halftime lead. The lead grew to 41-27 going to the final quarter.

Taylor Bell led the Lady Raiders with 14 points.

It will be another Catholic League invitational in the Division I finals for the as 4-time defending state champion and second seed John Curtis Christian squares off with District 9-5A rival Mount Carmel Academy for the championship for the third straight year.

The Lady Patriots downed another Catholic League rival in No. 4 Dominican 48-37 in the semifinals at Southeastern Louisiana.

It was the third victory for Curtis over Dominican this season, having swept its rival in district play during the regular season.

John Curtis led 15-11 after one quarter and carried a 22-19 lead into halftime. Curtis opened up a 36-26 lead after three quarters.

Senior Alexis Lavarine led the Lady Patriots (11-4) with 13 points, seven rebounds and five assists. Sophomore Jania Holmes and freshman Heaven Jordan each scored 11 points for John Curtis. The Patriots maintained their edge in the fourth quarter by sinking 10-of-11 free throws in the final period.

Freshman Anaya Yunusah led Dominican (19-7) with 18 points and eight rebounds but Dominican was plagued by 23 turnovers.

The Cubs (23-5) advanced to the title game once again with a 55-44 victory over No. 4 Scotlandville.

Mount Carmel led most of the way but Scotlandville pulled within four points in the fourth quarter before the Cubs pulled away for the win.

The Cubs led 11-4 after one quarter but Scotlandville dominated the second quarter to take a 24-23 halftime lead. Mount Carmel re-established control in the third quarter.

McNeese State signee Taylor Wilkins, the daughter of Mount Carmel head coach Jamie Thomatis, was terrific for the Cubs with 26 points while sophomore Jessica Runnels was excellent with 13 points and 12 rebounds.

Freshman Kameira McDonald led the Lady Hornets with 16 points, Kalyn Williams scored 11 points and Leilani Lewis had 10 points.

John Curtis swept Mount Carmel 48-42 and 47-44 in district play. Mount Carmel won 5A state titles in 2014 and 2016. The Cubs are in search of a fifth state championship while the Lady Patriots are seeking a fifth straight title and their eighth overall.

Girls Basketball Marsh Madness Schedule
Semifinals
Monday
at University Center, Hammond
Division IV
(2) Highland Baptist 45, (3) Cedar Creek 39
(1) Ouachita Christian 64, (4) St. Martin’s Episcopal 32

Class 2A
(1) Doyle 65, (5) Avoyelles Public Charter 61
(3) Lake Arthur 71 (2) Amite 57

at Burton Coliseum, Lake Charles
Division V
(1) University Academy 65, (5) St. Joseph’s Plaucheville 28
(3) Claiborne Christian 42, (2) Family Community 31

Class B
(1) Hathaway 46, (13) Bell City 34
(2) Fairview 61, (3) Florien 45

Tuesday
at University Center, Hammond
Class 1A
(3) Northwood-Lena 46, (2) Merryville 39
(1) East Iberville 54, (4) North Central 40

Class 3A
(1) Madison Prep 61, (4) Brusly 41
(7) Northwest 64, (3) South Beauregard 48

at Burton Coliseum, Lake Charles
Class C
(4) Reeves 45, (1) Gibsland-Coleman 34
(2) Hicks 62, (3) Plainview 26

Division II
(3) Liberty 68, (2) Ursuline Academy 49
(1) St. Louis Catholic 48, (4) St. Thomas More 41

Wednesday
at University Center, Hammond
Division I
(2) John Curtis Christian 48, (3) Dominican 37
(1) Mt. Carmel Academy 55, (4) Scotlandville 44

Class 5A
(6) Captain Shreve 47, (10) West Monroe 32
(12) Benton 58, (1) Ponchatoula, 7:30 p.m.

at Burton Coliseum, Lake Charles
Division III
(1) Lafayette Christian 75, (4) St. Charles Catholic 31
(3) St. Thomas Aquinas 43, (2) Episcopal 36

Class 4A
(2) Huntington 45, (3) Neville 38
(1) LaGrange 55, (4) Warren Easton 40

Finals
at University Center, Hammond
Thursday
Division V: (1) University Academy vs. (3) Claiborne Christian, noon
Division IV: (1) Ouachita Christian vs. (2) Highland Baptist, 2:30 p.m.
Class 1A: (1) East Iberville vs. (3) Northwood-Lena, 5 p.m.
Class B: (1) Hathaway vs. (2) Fairview, 7:30 p.m.

Friday
Class C: (2) Hicks vs. (4) Reeves, noon
Division II: (1) St. Louis Catholic vs. (3) Liberty, 2:30 p.m.
Class 4A: (1) LaGrange vs. 2) Huntington, 5 p.m.
Class 2A: (1) Doyle vs. (3) Lake Arthur, 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, March 6
Division III: (1) Lafayette Christian vs. (4) St. Thomas Aquinas, noon
Division I: (1) Mount Carmel Academy vs. (2) John Curtis Christian, 2:30 p.m.
Class 3A: (1) Madison Prep vs. (7) Northwest, 5 p.m.
Class 5A: (12) Benton vs. (6) Captain Shreve, 7:30 p.m.

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