(Rick Hickman / American Press)
Last Modified: Friday, March 07, 2014 5:36 PMUniversity Lab overcame a 10-point halftime deficit to upend John Curtis 70-61 Thursday at the girls Top 28 tournament to earn a spot in Class 3A state championship game.
John Curtis ended University Lab’s last two seasons in the state semifinals, but the No. 3 seed Cubs employed an effective full-court press to avoid another season-ending defeat at the hands of the No. 2 seed Cougars.
“Even before the playoffs started we were preparing for John Curtis in our heads,” said University coach Bonita Johnson. “I think that was a good thing for us because we knew it would come down to this and they were prepared.”
University had four players score in double digits, including Alainie Fisher with 19 and Terriel Ross who added 16.
John Curtis coach Barbara Farris said the Cougars gave up second-chance opportunities and didn’t take care of the ball against the press in the second half.
“(University Lab) did a great job in their press in the second half,” Farris said. “They were resilient and stuck with it. I told our kids it was a tale of two halves. We didn’t show up and do the things we were so successful with in the first half.”
Kolby Morgan scored 28 for John Curtis, while Farryn Wallow and Tia Charles each added 12.
The Cubs will meet Ville Platte in the final.
Ville Platte ...... 73
Albany ....... 64
Top-seeded Ville Platte (31-2) led 32-20 at the half thanks in large part to Deja McKinney’s 16 first-half points. McKinney finished with 32.
“We knew she was going to be hard to stop,” said Albany coach Stacy Darouse. “I felt like we let her get away from us a little bit in the first half. When we were able to hold her down, it seemed like we couldn’t keep (Tyreonna Doucet) off the boards. We tried man, we tried 2-3 zone, we tried box-and-one. We knew we were going to have to use everything.”
No. 4 seed Albany fought back in the second half, twice cutting the Ville Platte lead to four, but was never able to get over the hump and take the lead.
University and Ville Platte will play at 4 p.m. Saturday at Burton Coliseum.