John Curtis awakens to blitz Evangel in Division I girls basketball semifinals
ALEXANDRIA, La. – It was an early start time for top-seed John Curtis Christian against fifth-seed Evangel Christian Thursday morning. The 11:30 a.m. tipoff perhaps caught the Lady Patriots napping a bit as they struggled early against the Lady Eagles.
The alarm went off in the second quarter and so did the defending state champion Lady Patriots, who exploded in the quarter and dominated the rest of the way in a convincing 74-37 victory in the Division I semifinals at Rapides Coliseum.
The Patriots struggled taking care of the ball, committing five turnovers in the opening quarter but they closed the period on a 5-0 run to lead 12-7.
After the Lady Eagles tied the game 19-19 on a 3-pointer by Madison Laboy, the Lady Patriots turned it on with enormous pressure, forcing 11 turnovers in the second quarter and closing the quarter on a huge 23-0 run to take a commanding 42-19 lead at halftime. Dynah Jones had 14 points and nine rebounds in the half for John Curtis while Abryhia Irons had nine points and eight rebounds.
“We came out a little flat in the first half, not really playing our style. Just kind of walking, a little lackluster on offense. I think when we made shifts defensively, we started getting steals and getting those easy shots. It got us moving the ball a little faster, picking up tempo and getting us into our true game style,” said Curtis head coach Barbara Farris.
The run continued into the third quarter as the Patriots completed a 28-0 run to extend the lead to 47-19 and added a 9-0 run to lead 64-29 by the end of the quarter. Tiara Young had all 10 points in the quarter for the Lady Eagles. Jones had 12 in the quarter for Curtis.
“We played a very good program and we did the best we could,” Evangel head coach Meoka Young said. “They kind of wore us down. It’s hard when a team scores 30 points in the second quarter. We were not boxing out. They were bigger than us and they were going to the boards. That’s a tough team.”
Jones, a Tulane signee, led Curtis with 26 pionts, 12 rebounds, four steals and two assists in 22 minutes. She did not play in the fourth quarter. Abryhia Irons had 12 points and 11 rebounds and Jarkaila Jordan had 13 points, eight steals and seven rebounds
Young led Evangel (18-16) with 24 points, though she had 10 turnovers.
“We knew going in that Tiara Young was an offensive force to be reckoned with so one of our key points on defense was to defend her by committee. We weren’t going to put the burden on just one person. We were going make every shot she took contested,” said Farris.
The Lady Patriots advance to face second-seeded McKinley, comfortable winners over third-seed Dominican in Thursday’s other DI semifinal, on Saturday at 4 p.m. in the championship game.
“It’s an amazing feeling. This is my last go-round,” said Jones. “I’m just ready to close it with my teammates.”
McKinley handed Curtis its only loss of the season, winning 44-43 on Dec. 1.
John Curtis 12 30 22 10 74
Evangel 7 12 10 8 37
JC—Dynah Jones 26, Jerkaila Jordan 13, Abryhia Irons 12, Da’Jha Virgil 7, Alaan West 7, Salma Bates 5, Lauren Hurst 2, Jane Wright 2
ECA—Tiara Young 24, Madison Laboy 5, Meagan Laboy 3, Danielle Bryant 2, Cyntoria Cooper 2
JC 54, ECA 27
JC 9, ECA 22
Girls basketball championship results from Thurs., Mar. 1
(8) East Ascension 61, (5) Zachary 41
(7) Natchitoches Central 49, (6) Captain Shreve 41
(2) Lake Arthur 62, (14) Rosepine 41
(1) North Caddo 59, (5) Red River 50
(1) John Curtis Christian 74, (5) Evangel Christian 37
(2) McKinley 61, (3) Dominican 33
(1) Lafayette Christian 88, (9) Central Catholic 18
(4) Southern Lab 49, (5) Vermilion Catholic 35
Girls Championship Game Schedule for Fri., Mar. 2
Class C—(1) Plainview vs. (2) Atlanta, noon
1A—(1) Delhi vs. (2) Merryville, 2 p.m.
Division II—(3) Ursuline vs. (4) Lee Magnet, 4 p.m.
Division IV—(1) Lafayette Christian vs. (2) Houma Christian, 6 p.m.
4A—(3) Neville vs. (4) Warren Easton, 8 p.m.
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