LAFAYETTE — The St. Thomas More Lady Cougars earned a day off next week.
In Tuesday’s 52-27 road victory over Lafayette Christian Academy, STM managed to hold LCA’s leading scorer, Ajia Robinson, to less than 10 points, which is well below her season average of 21 points.
For that accomplishment, the Lady Cougars will get a short breather.
“Defense was the difference,” STM coach Stephen Strojny said. “We ramped up the pressure on defense. I challenged the girls before the game to hold their guard Ajia to 10 points or less. If they did that, I would give them a day off next week. She only scored seven.”
STM (8-1) started the game on with a 9-0 run but LCA (5-2) managed to claw its way back.
Robinson scored the Lady Knights’ first points with 1:50 left in the opening quarter as she made her free throw to complete a three-point play. Janae Duffy’s putback with 19 seconds left made it a 9-6 contest and Reagan Lantier’s bank shot at the top of the key to start the second trimmed STM’s lead to a point.
“If you look at the first two minutes of the opening quarter they missed shots, we grabbed the rebounds but we missed our shots,” LCA coach Errol Rogers said. “We finally made some shots.”
That’s when the Lady Cougars responded with a 15-0 run to seize control of the quarter, and for intents and purpose the game.
“We let them get away with open shots,” Rogers said. “That was the difference in the game.”
Despite playing an uneven third quarter, STM still managed to enter the final period with a comfortable 43-17 lead on way to its sixth straight victory.
“Halfway through the quarter, we wanted to pass the ball more,” Strojny said. “Routinely we take the best shot, but we wanted to work on our passing. After a while, that opened up the lanes and we started to make some layups.”
STM’s Bailey Hemphill led all scorers with 13 points while Grace Barrilleaux added nine in the victory. LCA was paced by Erin Rogers who scored 11 points while Robinson and Lantier each added seven.
Despite the lopsided defeat, Rogers was pleased with his team’s effort.
“This game showed us that we can play with a team like STM,” Rogers said. “Now we want to not only just play with a team like that but have a chance to win the game. That is the next step for us.”
Up next for STM, meanwhile, is a date with one of the best teams in the state in St. Michael the Archangel on Friday. The two teams squared off in a nondistrict game late last season, a game STM lost 49-27.
“We are going to treat it like a playoff game, just like we did this game,” Strojny said. “Last year we had our butts handed to us in their gym. So we will need to be prepared.”