Tors adapt, overcome to beat Dragons

WESTLAKE — After playing four games against DeRidder over the past two seasons, Sulphur head basketball coach Helen Lefevre suspected Dragons head coach Charles Kiely would have a trick up his sleeve when the teams met Tuesday in a semifinal game of the Westlake/Lakeside Bank Holiday Classic.

She was right, as Kiely sprung a diamond-and-one defense on the Tors, who struggled early but pulled away in the second half for a 44-35 win.

The Tors (5-0) had trouble getting started, trailing 8-7 at the end of the first quarter and 12-9 midway through the second before starting to find a rhythm offensively. The Tors pulled ahead 18-16 by halftime and made adjustments at halftime.

They worked, as the Tors scored the first 11 points of the second half to take a 28-16 lead. The Tors held DeRidder (3-2) to two points in the quarter.

Lefevre said DeRidder hadn’t shown many defensive looks in previous games.

"We played them last week and he played a 1-1-3 zone and some man, as he did last year when we played them three times," Lefevre said.

"We told our kids he was going to do something different, but we had no idea what it was. He came out in that diamond-and-one and it took us a while in the first half to get the kids to understand what we wanted them to do. We were able to walk through it at halftime but he had our number in the first half."

DeRidder guard Domonique Davis, an LSU signee, got on track in the fourth quarter, scoring all 17 DeRidder points, but the Dragons didn’t get closer than seven points. Her last five baskets were 3-pointers. She finished with a game-high 25 points.

"Brooklyn Gunter, with help, has done a good job against her in the past," Lefevre said of Davis. "You can’t stop her, you just hope you can slow her down."

Gunter led Sulphur with 13 points while Raegan Ojoro added 11. Gunter drilled a pair of jumpers during the Tors run to start the third quarter. Tors guard Abby Wyatt had three assists in the fourth quarter as the Tors held on during Davis’s explosion.

Lefevre said she was happy with the way her team made changes on the fly.

"In our previous games, we were able to practice what we wanted to do," she said. "Tonight is the first time we had to draw something up and they handled it well."