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Fairview girls clinch seventh straight state title

Last Modified: Wednesday, March 06, 2013 10:18 PM

Special to the American Press

MONROE — The streak is at seven for Fairview, which extended its state-record string of girls basketball championships with a 71-38 win over Lacassine Wednesday night in the Class B title game.

The victory tied the all-time Louisiana record for consecutive state championships with Zwolle, which won seven titles from 1988-94.

Fairview (44-1) took control early, opening with an 11-2 run that included 3-pointers by Ashlea Vizena, Karli West and Natosha Morvant. The Panthers extended the lead to 21-8 by the end of the first quarter.

The Cardinals (39-2) were plagued by turnovers, committing eight in the first quarter and making 4 of 13 field goal attempts.

Fairview made five 3-pointers in the first quarter and stretched the lead to 16 points at halftime with more stifling defense. Vizena scored nine points in the first half , while Katie Lemieux added seven points and seven rebounds.

Lacassine’s struggles on offense continued in the second quarter, converting 3 of 15 field goal attempts. The Cardinals finished with 26 turnovers and shot 30 percent from the floor for the game.

Lemieux was named MVP, finishing with 17 points and 13 rebounds.

“I wasn’t expecting that, that’s for sure,” Lemieux said. “(Keeping the school’s tradition going) is a privilege, that is the best part of it.”

Vizena finished with 15 points, Morvant with 13 and West 12.

“When we were starting out, we were just hoping to win a championship, not expecting to six of them,” Morvant said. “Getting here and winning our sixth straight without a playoff loss is awesome.”

Fairview head coach Kyle Jinks said he was glad his seniors are leaving on a good note.

“I am so glad we won that game,” Jinks said. “I have five seniors so am losing half my team. This is the best group of kids that I’ve worked with for four years in a row. We had to win or it would devastate me since they have never lost a playoff game. If they lost it would have killed me.

“Sometimes I overcoach, I try to think of everything I can do to prepare for a game, but then I decided we were just going to do what we do and they stepped up to the plate. They are very competitive.”

Jinks said a fast start was imperative.

“A team like that, if you let them hang around early, they gain confidence,” he said. “If they gain confidence, they think they have a shot to win.

“I thought we did jump on them early, were very physical. Our schedule prepared us to be physical. We played (Class 5A finalist) Natchitoches Central, (Class 2A finalist) St. Thomas Aquinas, (Class 4A finalist) St. Thomas More three times, you have to be physical to play with them teams and that prepared us for this championship game.”

“There is no doubt who the better team was today,” said Lacassine head coach Eddie Michalko, who is retiring after a 33-year coaching career.

“Early, they physically took us out of the game with the defense they were playing,” he said. “We rarely got to the foul line. We finally started making it to the basket but couldn’t get a layup to go down.

“Anytime you play a team like Fairview, you have to score with them. Thirty-three points at halftime defensively, I thought we were OK. Their defensive intensity took us out of what we wanted to do. My hat’s off to Fairview.”

Madyson Brasseaux led Lacassine with 11 points.

Fairview beat Lacassine by nine in last year’s championship game.

Jinks said the Panthers did a better job rebounding this time around.

“Last year we got outrebounded by 20 rebounds and were terrible from the line,” he said. “This time rebounds were 41-40 and we outshot them at the line (14 of 22 for Fairview, 7 of 13 for Lacassine.). We improved drastically in them two areas and I thought them two as a big difference from last year’s game.”

Jinks said the Panthers title streak is a result of hard work.

“Their work ethic is unbelievable,” he said. “We don’t do nothing fancy, but we work hard every single day. It is repetition, repetition and they buy into it. Because they bought into that, this is why we are here right now. It is not me.

“I am blessed with good athletes who decide if they are going to play they are going to work hard.”

Posted By: Doug On: 3/7/2013

Title: Fairview?

Congrats, team, but where is Fairview?

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