CCHS looks to cap season with 1A title

Central Catholic’s Randi Brown dribbles against Merryville High School during the squads’ Class 1A semifinal contest in Lake Charles Thursday. The Lady Eagles, the No. 2 seed, will be playing in their first Class 1A state girls’ basketball championship game Saturday when they meet top seed North Central at 2 p.m.

By GEOFF STOUTE, gstoute@daily-review.com

When No. 2 Central Catholic and No. 1 North Central take the court Saturday at 2 p.m. for the Class 1A state championship game at Lake Charles’ Burton Coliseum, it will be a meeting of opposites.
North Central has height and balanced scoring.
Central Catholic (28-3) doesn’t have a lot of height and the bulk of its scoring is centered around two main options.
Regardless, Central Catholic coach Jamarr Garrett said his squad cannot worry about North Central and must focus on itself.
“All we can do is play our game,” he said. “We can’t worry about them and their height. All we can do is do … what we’re capable of and the pieces will fall into place.”
While North Central (30-2) features two girls that are at least 6-feet or taller in juniors Jazlyn Robertson, a 6-1 forward, and Santanner Edwards, a 6-0 center, as well as junior forward Sydney Martin and eighth grade forward/center Latrachaui Tyler, both at 5-11, Garrett said his squad has faced height before and performed well. He noted that in the squad’s contest against West Jefferson earlier this season, the entire West Jefferson starting lineup was bigger than Central Catholic’s starters. Central Catholic won that contest 50-37.
Against No. 4 Vermilion Catholic — who the Lady Eagles swept the season series against — the Lady Eagles’ and post player Gee Garrett, their lone big girl in the regular rotation at 5-11, faced two talented post players, Coach Garrett said.
Garrett, who according to stats submitted prior to the semifinal contest, averaged six points this season, had 12 in the semifinal win against Merryville as well as four rebounds and two steals.
“I think she’ll be ready for it,” Garrett said of the challenge she will face inside.
However, he noted that Garrett and the rest of the team must stay out of foul trouble to have a chance to win.
As for North Central, the Lady Canes are led by guard Adrianna Edwards, who averages 16 points a contest, while Robertson averages 14 per game. Others who average double figures are Martin at 11 points a contest and guard Quaniqua Joseph at 10 points per game. Forward Shavonta Bush averages nearly double figures at 9.4 per contest.
After watching them in Thursday’s 61-58 victory against No. 5 Arcadia, Coach Garrett said in his postgame remarks that the Lady Canes are “probably one of the faster teams we’ve played.” However, he said from what he saw of them, he thought they wore themselves out with their fast pace.
“We’re going to slow them down, get them in a half-court game (and) just go from there,” Coach Garrett said Thursday. “They seem to wear themselves out trying to press you and get points off of the press, so we’re going to try to counter that. We’ll turn them pressing into points for us.”
North Central coach Vanessa Taylor told the Lake Charles American Press that her squad works hard on defense.
“At the end of the game, somebody’s gonna be tired,” she said. “Not us.”
Coach Garrett noted that Central Catholic was pressed on offense the entire game against Class 4A quarterfinalist Ellender. He said games like that one and against University Lab helped prepare his squad for both the semifinals and the finals.
He said from his team’s schedule, North Central reminds him of University Lab, which will be playing in the Class 3A state title game at 4 p.m. against Ville Platte, Class 3A’s top-ranked team. Ville Platte handed North Central its two losses this year.
“U-High beat us by four, and we played horrible that game,” Coach Garrett said.
Central Catholic has been led on offense this season by Randi Brown and Meo Knight. Brown has averaged 21 points per game, 8.6 rebounds and four steals, while Knight, an Alabama signee, also has averaged 18.6 points a contest, 8.6 boards and 4 assists.
In addition to Garrett, who also averages 4.2 rebounds per contest, Megan Landry also averages six points and four rebounds.
While Central Catholic jumped on previously undefeated Merryville (31-1) early and led by nearly 20 at 59-41 heading into the fourth quarter, Merryville rallied in the fourth quarter with a 17-9 surge to cut the lead to 10 at 58-48 with less than two minutes remaining. However, the Lady Eagles closed out the game by finishing 12-for-12 from the free throw line in the final 1:39.
“That was big for us tonight. It was big for us in our quarterfinal game, and if I had to be bet, it will be big for us Saturday,” Garrett said following Wednesday’s game.
Brown led the Lady Eagles in the semifinal win with a double-double with 29 points and 12 rebounds as well as two blocks, two steals and one assist, while Knight had 20 points, nine rebounds, six assists, two blocks and one steal.
“I’ve seen Central Catholic before, and they have two awesome players in Brown and Knight,” Taylor told The Daily Advertiser. “If you shut down one, the other person has to do everything by themselves. I don’t think one young lady can beat us.”
In the Lady Canes’ semifinal win, North Central took a 19-10 lead after the first period, but Arcadia cut the deficit to 26-23 by halftime.
While North Central outscored Arcadia 18-14 in the third quarter for a 44-37 lead after three quarters, Arcadia closed the gap in the fourth quarter.
North Central had four players in double figures led by Joseph with 15, Bush with 13 and Martin and Robertson each with 11.

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