By Brad Ford
The No. 3-ranked Lake Arthur Lady Tigers fought off a feisty Red River Bulldogs’ squad Monday night to move one step closer to a return trip to the LHSAA Class 2A State Tournament with a 63-41 victory. The regional round win upped the Lady Tigers’ overall record to 28-4 on the season, while Red River ended their year at 8-11.
Although the contest was a back-and-forth affair for most of the first half, LA put the clamps down on defense in the back-half of the ball game to pull away for the 22-point triumph. The Lady Tigers used another strong offensive showing from senior Deonna Brister, as she pumped in 24 points to lead the charge. Katherine Leonards and Kali Hornsby also found their way into double-digits for LA.
Red River (8-11) only trailed 36-29 going into the halftime intermission and cut the lead to 36-31 with the opening possession of the second half. However, LA went on a 17-4 run to close the third quarter and put the contest out of reach.
The two teams traded shots in what was an exciting first period of basketball at “Nookie” Moore Gymnasium. Red River’s Jaeden French-Solten kept her squad within striking distance by knocking down 10 points, including a pair of 3-point bombs from well beyond the arc. The Lady Tigers would grab a lead they would never relinquish at the 4:12 mark when Leonards drilled a pair from the charity stripe and Hornsby backed it up with a layup of her own to go up 11-7. French-Solten buried a 3-ball to bring Red River within one, however the Lady Tigers would go on a 7-0 run to close the first quarter with a 20-12 lead. Leonards capped the period with a runner with three seconds left on the clock and would finish the first with seven points. Hornsby dropped in five of her own, while Brister chipped in four. Darrah Broussard and Vivian Sketoe each added two for the Lady Tigers. Erica Babers aided French-Solten in the scoring department for the Bulldogs by pitching in two in the first stanza.
The Lady Tigers (28-4) kept their momentum going into the second period and built their lead up to 27-14 by going on yet another 7-0 run early. Brister scored at the rim on a beautiful dish from Sketoe, while Leonards added another two to her credit in the stretch. Brister converted a big “and 1” play with 6:06 left to go in the half to move the Lady Tiger lead to 27-14. Red River quickly answered right back by using an 10-1 push of their own to chop the lead to 28-24 with just over two minutes remaining in the half. Katlyn Antilley drilled two 3-pointers in the run for the Bulldogs and knocked in yet another later in the stanza. LA was able to build their advantage back up to 36-29 on a pair of free throws by Brooke Daboval and a layup from Brister with nine ticks left to go into the half with a seven-point lead. Brister would pace the Lady Tigers with eight in the second frame, while Leonards added four more. Daboval drilled her two from the charity stripe and Hornsby added another bucket. Antilley paced the Bulldogs with nine tallies in the second, while French-Solten and Jariayh Hamilton each added four.
After Red River cut the lead to 36-31 to open the third period, it was all Lady Tigers from there. LA went on a 9-0 run to answer back and up their advantage to 45-31. Brister popped in four in that stretch, while Daboval knocked down a long 3-pointer. Brister pumped in 10 of the Lady Tigers’ 17 points in the third, while Hornsby added four and Daboval drilled her three. Cierra Smith paced Red River with four points, while French-Solten added her final two of the evening.
In a low-scoring fourth stanza, LA was able to convert 8-of-11 from the charity stripe down the stretch. Sketoe led the way with five points, three coming from the line. Brister and Leonards knocked down two freebies, while Daboval also iced one. Hamilton was able to add four more to her totals for the Bulldogs, while Antilley found her way into double figures for the game with another bucket.
Brister paced the Lady Tigers’ attack with her 24-point showing, while Leonards pumped in 13 and Hornsby finished with 11. Sketoe ended her night with seven points, while Daboval added six in the win. Broussard rounded out the scoring with her two markers.
French-Solten ended her sparkling evening with 16 points and Antilley also hit double-digits with 11. Hamilton was able to chip in eight for Red River, while Smith added four and Babers pitched in two.
After the game Red River Principal JC Dickey congratulated the Lady Bulldogs on a great season.
Love my lady bulldogs, they play so hard and represent us well. Thank you players and coaches for an amazing season. To my senior girls, I sure will miss watching you play next season but know awesome things are in store for you. Coach Antilley, thank you for everything you have done for RRHS, you have had an amazing career. To the returning girls the future is bright and I am excited to see what’s next as y’all continue to show 2A lady bulldogs are here to stay.