Lady K’s look to keep rolling vs. Church Point, Westlake, Rosepine in all-area semifinal

Published 9:17 am Wednesday, February 28, 2024

South Beauregard has won 15 consecutive games and hopes to keep that streak alive today in the nonselect Division II semifinals at the girls basketball state tournament in Hammond.

The second-ranked Lady K’s will make their third semifinal appearance in four seasons, while No. 6 Church Point has never been this far in the playoffs before. The game will start at 2:45 p.m.

“I am hoping that we have the edge because our girls are a little more familiar with this type of atmosphere, but you never know,” South Beauregard head coach Susan Johnson said. “I am feeling pretty confident.

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“We have been locked in practice and focused. They are just ready to play. I think that it is going to be a good game and that we match up well. I think that is going to be who comes out ready to play.”

Johnson said the key during the Lady K’s hot streak has been the teamwork of guards Kaelyn Gunter, Jolie Baumgarten and Faith Johnson and their two 6-foot posts, Emorie Fontenot and Kenzie Hudler.

“We are finally starting to put it all together,” Johnson said. “Some parts of the season our guards were knocking down shots, then our posts were not doing their job. Then we got to where our posts were doing their jobs and our guards were not doing their job.

“We have been trying to fix everything and I feel like it is finally coming together. They can all score. We don’t have just one superstar on the team. We are a true team that depends on each other.”

Johnson said South Beauregard practiced Monday at McNeese State and will practice today at LSU to prepare for the atmosphere at Southeastern Louisiana’s University Center.

The Bears are fresh off their first quarterfinal win in program history, a 47-43 upset of No. 3 Bastrop. Led by the senior trio of Shaine Parker (15 ppg, 13 rpg), Ery’ul Johnson (11 ppg) and Akirra Hagger (9 ppg), the Bears have averaged 61.4 points a game in their nine-game win streak. They will be up against the Lady K’s’ stingy defense that has limited opponents to 40 or fewer points in 11 of their last 15 games.

“(We have to) control the tempo of the game,” Johnson said. “It is us playing with confidence and just doing what we do, especially on defense. We spend so much time on defense.”


Division III

Westlake has been celebrating since punching its first ticket to the state semifinals since 2012 last week, but the Rams will have to put the excitement aside when they take on defending champion Rosepine in the nonselect Division III semifinals at 1 p.m. today.

The Rams (24-5) have been tested with three of their five losses to teams that are also in Hammond — Anacoco, J.S. Clark and South Beauregard, plus they are 4-2 in games decided by six or fewer points.

“What this group has is the fight in them,” Westlake head coach Gloria Fontenot said. “We have faced some really good teams this year.

“They have grit, I will be honest. I haven’t had a group just consistently with that, and they have had it all year. All season they have been challenged in different situations. We have a bad offensive night and our defense comes through. It is things like that that make them special this year.”

No. 1 Rosepine (29-5) has won 20 consecutive games and is led by four seniors who will make their third consecutive semifinal appearance. In two playoff games, all four are averaging in double figures in Addison Fruge (20.5), Kelly Norris (12), Kailea Blakenbaker (11.5) and Nevaeh Rivera (10.5).

“(Rosepine is) solid,” Fontenot said. “They are a very good offensive team.

“Defense has been what we have been preaching all season. We have to be better on defense, and we have multiple defensive things that we can turn to. They have everybody back. They won a state championship last year, and we are aware of that. But we can still compete against them and we are going to bring everything we have.”

Westlake has four players averaging in double figures, led by junior guards Maddy (14 ppg, 5 apg) and Gabby Guillory (15 ppg). Senior Tierra Bargeman gives the Rams an inside presence with 10 points and six rebounds a game. Senior guard Lady Fradieu is averaging 12 points and six rebounds a game.