Late EA rally falls short against Barbe
Coming into Thursday night, East Ascension had won three straight first-round playoff games, and they had made it to the state semifinals two years in a row.
Those streaks ended for the Lady Spartans against Barbe.
The 18th-seeded Lady Buccaneers jumped all over East Ascension early and built up a 16-point lead late in the third quarter.
Although the Lady Spartans went on a furious rally in the fourth quarter that got them within one point, they could not take advantage of opportunities down the stretch. They fell, 52-49.
“We didn’t guard anybody. We didn’t block out, we didn’t rebound, we didn’t run our offense and it was helter skelter," East Ascension head coach Dennis Chandler said. "We didn’t do anything that we worked on. They’re too good for that.
"I told them that a team like that, they’re not gonna lose; we have to beat them. They don’t understand that concept. We’ve had a lot of success at home in the first round of the playoffs, and I think they thought it’d be easy. I told them that this was a good team. They did a better job than us, and they deserved to win.”
Barbe came out guns blazing early on. Mikaylah Manley hit three 3-pointers to give them an 11-0 lead right out of the gates.
Although, a triple by Aja Causey sparked a 9-0 run for East Ascension that cut it to 11-9 heading to the second quarter.
Manley hit a fourth 3-pointer in the period that stretched the Barbe lead to 10. They carried a 24-15 advantage into the half.
Causey hit a trey to begin the second half, but it was all downhill from there for the Lady Spartans in a dreadful third quarter.
Barbe countered with a 12-0 run that pushed their lead up to 16.
Thankfully for East Ascension, JaHonesty Hampton hit a trey right before the end of the quarter, cutting the deficit to 40-27.
That bucket gave a spark to the Lady Spartans in the fourth.
Causey made three straight buckets to cut the deficit to seven. Sadie Williams then scored four straight points to get the Lady Spartans within three.
Later, Hampton came up with a steal and went coast to coast for a layup that got East Ascension within one with a minute remaining. It was a 10-1 run for the Lady Spartans.
East Ascension had a chance to take the lead. They got the ball with 14 seconds remaining, but they turned it over.
Barbe made free throws on the other end to go back up three. Those were good enough to ice away the victory for the Lady Buccaneers.
In defeat, East Ascension was led by Causey and Kierralynn Irvin. Each player scored 14. Williams chipped in with 10.
The Lady Spartans finished with an overall record of 12-9. Coach Chandler said that he was disappointed with the season.
“I thought we underachieved this year," Chandler said. "Our seniors didn’t step up, and they didn’t do what I told them to do. And that showed. I’ve always hung my hat on rebounding, playing good defense and shooting layups. We didn’t do any of that. We gave up about eight points tonight because we weren’t communicating with one another. We had too many breakdowns like that all year.”