CROWLEY – With the first half of district play wrapping up this evening, two local girls’ teams have the opportunity to throw their respective leagues in a tizzy.
Notre Dame’s Lady Pios close out the first round on the road against District 5-AAA’s only undefeated team, Church Point, while the Iota Lady Bulldogs play host to District 4-AAA league leader Jennings.
In other games tonight involving parish teams, Crowley hosts Northwest, Northside Christian travels to Delcambre and Midland travels to Lacassine.
For Notre Dame’s Lady Pios 13-7, 2-1, it’s not only a chance to gain a share of the league lead heading into the second round, it’s also a shot at redemption.
Last season, with a share of the District 5-AAA title on the line, the Lady Bears upset the Lady Pios, 66-47, in the regular-season finale.
“We’ve waited a year for this rematch,” said Notre Dame coach Nolan Theriot following Friday’s 64-36 victory over Crowley. “They (Church Point) got after us pretty good last year and they kind of embarrassed us. It didn’t have playoff implications for us, but getting beat by 25 didn’t really lead us well into the playoffs.”
Notre Dame enters the game off back-to-back wins over Rayne and Crowley after falling to Northwest, 50-42.
Church Point has won all three of its district games, including a thrilling 51-50 victory over Northwest in Prairie Rhonde.
“We knew we had to win our last two and now I think the monkey is off our back,” said Theriot. “We’re not expected to win; they are undefeated and it’s a home game for them. We have nothing to lose. If we can stay close and make it a game in the fourth quarter, I like our chances.”
In Iota, the Lady Dogs (20-8, 2-1) will have to fend off Class AAA’s second-ranked Jennings, which also has a bit of redemption on its mind.
Iota defeated Jennings three times last season, including a 57-36 beatdown in the regional round of the playoffs, en route to the Class AAA state title.
This year, Jennings seems to be the favorite. The Lady Bulldogs enter with a 25-3 record overall and they are 2-0 in league play after topping St. Louis Friday, 58-51.
“Jennings is lightning fast and very athletic,” said Iota coach Stan Baggett. “They put a lot of pressure on the ball and trap you all over the floor. They get most of their points out of transition. They are also real deep and that concerns me. They play anywhere from eight to 10 kids.”
Baggett says the key to victory will be for his squad to handle Jennings’ pressure and limit the mistakes that have plagued his team in their eight losses.
“We’ve been shooting the ball better lately and we are not turning it over as much,” said Baggett. “The big thing for us will be to take care of the ball. They are going to trap us and try to speed the game up. If we have a lot of turnovers, it’s not going to be pretty.”
The contest will definitely be a crowd pleaser, especially for Iota fans. This will mark just the fourth time all season that the Lady Dogs have played in front of a home crowd.
“We have been road warriors this year,” said Baggett. “It just worked out that way but I think it will help us in the long run.”