Dartest leads charge with 27 points

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The first playoff game at Washington-Marion in nine years wasn’t much of a contest, with the Charging Indians rolling to an 86-34 win over St. James Thursday night.

The No. 10 Charging Indians (16-15) will play at No. 7 Donaldsonville (22-7) in the regional round on Monday.

Amiya Dartest led W-M with 27 points, including 14 in the first quarter.

No. 23 St. James (10-17) never led and the lone tie of the game was at 4-4, at which point W-M reeled off 10 consecutive points, eight coming from Dartest and two from Skylah Brown. W-M started the second quarter with a 19-4 run to put the game out of reach at 39-17. The Charging Indians scored 34 straight and one point and held St. James scoreless in the third quarter.

Keyandra Comeaux had 16 points and 13 rebounds for W-M. Kiara Fontenot scored 10 and led the W-M pressure defense. Guards Fontenot, Kayla Matthews, Dartest and Leilani Wiley each had multiple steals for the Charging Indians.

W-M head coach Nikki Mason said defense makes her team go.

“We were aggressive; our main thing is to be aggressive,” she said. “If we play good defense, the offense is going to come. We knew we had to pressure the ball a lot to get steals and turnovers from them. Fontenot is a great defender, puts a lot of pressure on the ball and attacks you.”

Dartest and Comeaux provided all the offense W-M needed.

“It helps a lot when both of them get it going at the same time,” Mason said. “They tried to face guard Amiya for a little bit, but our other guards stepped up and we told Amiya to just keep moving and working to get the ball. Our guards and posts worked well together tonight.”

Mason said her team is capable of winning on the road next week.

“I know it is going to be harder, but we just have to stay focused and play great defense,” she said. “We started a little slow defensively, but we just have to continue to apply pressure on defense.”

Imari Simon led St. James with 10 points, all in the first half.

 W-M 86, St. James 34