Lafayette Christian girls pull away from Central Catholic thanks to pressure defense _lowres

Advocate staff photo by BRAD BOWIE -- Lafayette Christian's Madison Trahan, left, and Erin Rogers, right, try to work around Central Catholic's Lydia Rivas on Tuesday night at Lafayette Christian Academy.

LAFAYETTE — It took a little while for Lafayette Christian Academy’s girls basketball team to shake off the rust, but once it did, it soared past Central Catholic-Morgan City to a 63-43 home win.

The Knights (13-6, 2-0) closed the game on a 32-11 run thanks to a relentless pressure defense that the Eagles (9-6, 1-2) couldn’t break through.

“We picked up our press, and we denied (Central Catholic point guard Hallie Autin) the ball,” LCA coach Errol Rogers said. “By denying her the ball, it made them play bad. (Autin) is the key to them.”

The pressure caused a flurry of Eagles turnovers, which the Knights frequently turned into points, either in the three-second lane or at the free-throw line. LCA made 15 second-half free throws.

LCA guard Agia Robinson scored a game-high 23 points. She was especially dominant off the dribble early, scoring 14 of the Knights’ first 19 points.

“That was great,” Rogers said. “If she doesn’t hit those shots early, I don’t know what would’ve happened. … She did a great job of attacking and scoring.”

She was matched by Autin, who scored eight of Central Catholic’s 11 first-quarter points, but the Knights stifled Autin the rest of the way, holding her to four points the next three quarters.

It wasn’t always pretty for LCA, which was playing its first game in more than a week after playing four games in five days in a tournament at the end of December.

The Knights went through a scoring lull during about a 10-minute stretch to end the second quarter and begin the third. In that span, they scored four points. LCA turned the ball over on four consecutive possessions to start the second half.

“I thought we played sluggish,” Rogers said. “We weren’t the team that played last week.”

The Eagles took full advantage. Trailing by nine midway through the second quarter, they reeled off a 17-7 run to take a 32-31 lead midway through the third quarter.

That’s when LCA took control. A 3-pointer by Myca Broussard put the Knights back in front, and they didn’t look back.

LCA point guard Erin Rogers closed the third quarter with a three-point play when she was fouled on a layup and made the ensuing free throw. She also knocked down six free throws in the final quarter to finish with 18 points.

The Knights won’t have to wait as long for their next game, as they have a big matchup against Vermilion Catholic looming Saturday in a game of District 7-1A front runners.

Rogers liked the way his team grinded out a win Tuesday but knows his team will need a better effort the next time around.

“When you play bad and you can win, that’s a good feeling,” Rogers said. “I’m happy that we won. I just don’t like the way we played (Tuesday) night. We’ve got to play better.”