Fairview’s Maghan Cooley, left, hugs teammate Katie Lemieux after their victory over Lacassine in the Class B championship game Friday night. (Rick Hickman / American Press)
Last Modified: Saturday, March 08, 2014 6:53 PMMaghan Cooley scored 25 points and No. 1 Fairview wrapped up its eighth consecutive state championship, beating Lacassine 76-53 in the Class B final at Burton Coliseum Friday night.
The Panthers beat the Cardinals in the championship game for the third straight year.
“I am so relieved that is over with,” said Fairview head coach Kyle Jinks. “These seniors have been with me since they were in sixth grade and I didn’t want to let them down.”
For seniors Cooley, Katie Lemieux and Gabby Leonards, they finished their high school careers with six state championship trophies. They were joined in their final celebration by senior teammate Tori Trammel, who was unable to compete due to an illness.
“This feels amazing,” Cooley said. “This is one of the best feelings in the world and this year is the best yet.”
With neither team a stranger to the bright lights of the Top 28 tournament, there were no early jitters, it was just a matter of who could put together a scoring run first.
The Cardinals (33-2) opened the scoring on a layup from Lindsey Priola, but the Panthers (40-1), who won their 40th consecutive playoff game, were quick to respond with Cooley and Lemieux firing off five points in rapid succession. That 2-0 lead lasted all of 15 seconds and was the Cardinals’ lone lead of the game.
Fairview took a 20-9 lead at the end of the first quarter, but it was in the second quarter when the Panthers began to find their groove, going on a 15-2 run to that made them feel right at home.
Making matters worse for Lacassine, leading scorer Madyson Brasseaux was forced to remain on the sideline for the entire 8 minutes due to foul trouble. The Panthers led 40-17 at the half.
Lacassine’s first real spark came in the opening minute when it beat Fairview at its own game — running the floor and pressing — for a short period of time. But in the end it was Fairview that owned the speed game and refused to ease up.
“I think what Lacassine did played right into our hands,” Jinks said. “They try to get up and down the floor like we do, but I think we are just better at what we do.”
Brasseaux, along with starters Abbie Melanson and Priola, fouled out of the game before the halfway point of the fourth quarter, eliminating any possibility of a comeback.
“We got in a bind early with foul trouble. Our offense is built around Madyson and Abbie so when they are taken out of the game like that it affects our game plan,” said Lacassine head coach Jeremy Hollier.
Cooley added 13 rebounds for a double-double en route to earning the game’s Outstanding Player award.
“I thought Maghan did a really good job of attacking the paint and creating shots for other players,” Jinks said. “When the help wasn’t there she was either laying it in or drawing the foul.”
Lemieux wasn’t far behind, scoring 18 points and grabbing 13 rebounds while freshman Callie Maddox added 14 points.
Lacassine was led by freshman Haley Cooley with 17 points.