Strong fourth-quarter push nets Lady Tigers playoff win
For three quarters, a pesky Green Oaks squad hung around with Donaldsonville and refused to go away, but in the fourth quarter, the Lady Tigers showed why they're the seventh seed in the Class 3A playoffs.
Green Oaks got within four points, but from then on, it was all Donaldsonville. The Lady Tigers unleashed a 17-0 run that blew the Giants out of the water. It resulted in an emphatic 67-46 first-round playoff victory, the program's first in two years.
“It feels good. We have a special group," Donaldsonville head coach Shawancy Joseph said. "We’re trying to get back into the groove. We had a lot of injuries that we had to deal with during the second part of the season, so we’ve just been trying to play like we were playing at the start of the year. It was good to get this win, but we have a lot of work to do.”
In the first quarter, Green Oaks went on a 7-0 run that gave them a 9-7 lead, but Southeastern signee Daija Harvey quickly answered for the Lady Tigers. She scored seven straight points on her own to help Donaldsonville take a 16-11 advantage into the second.
To begin that period, she hit another 3-pointer, and Quinntryce Bell finished up an and-one play that pushed the lead to 11.
However, the Tigers started to get sloppy with the ball, allowing Green Oaks to cut the lead down to five.
Donaldsonville countered by closing the half on an 11-2 run. That rally included two 3-pointers by Bell and another by Tia Richard. It gave the Lady Tigers a 39-25 advantage at the break.
But in the third quarter, the Lady Tigers struggled to make buckets, and they turned the ball over in bunches. It allowed Green Oaks to trim the deficit to six heading into the fourth.
To begin the final period, the Giants got within four.
“Daija had four fouls, so we took her out of the game. We were trying to get the momentum back, because they had pretty much sucked it out of us," Joseph said. "I called a timeout, and we tried to settle the girls down. I had to tell them that we were still in the game. We just needed to do what we had been practicing."
The Lady Tigers answered with a 17-0 run that put the game out of reach.
Highlighting this flurry were transition layups by both Bell and Harvey and a jumper by L'Nysia Johnson. It all contributed to a 67-46 victory.
"They came out in the fourth quarter, they did what they had to do and they took care of business," Joseph said. "It all started on the defensive end. We gave up some plays, but we eventually buckled down and did what we had to do. On the offensive end, I told them to stop taking jump-shots and go to the goal and attack, and they did that. We ended up going to the free-throw line in the fourth quarter to close it out.”
The Lady Tigers were led by Bell as she poured in 20. Harvey was close behind with 16 points, and Jalair Johnson scored 13. Richard chipped in with seven points of her own.
With the victory, the Tigers drew a home second-round playoff matchup against 10th-seeded Washington-Marion on Monday night. They went 15-15 during the regular season and absolutely trounced St. James, 86-34, in the opening round.
“We have to play better on-the-ball defense, also half-court defense," Coach Joseph said. "We have to stop penetration. In order for us to be successful and make a run in these playoffs, we have to be able to stop teams. We need to communicate better on defense. If we can do that, I like our chances.”