Aside from injuries to a pair of projected contributors the early portion of the season for the Erath girls basketball team couldn’t have gone much better.
A tournament championship in last week’s Vermilion Parish event — the first for the school — has been among the highlights for the Lady Bobcats.
“We’ve discussed to take things one game at a time and see where that will lead,” Erath’s sixth-year coach Andrea Bernard said. “That’s been working really well for us: to focus and finish one game at a time. They’ve started to see the fruits of their labor.”
Erath (10-2) finds itself with one final test at 6 p.m. Wednesday, hosting New Iberia (6-4), which reached the Class 5A state semifinals a year ago.
The Bobcats will turn around a day later and travel to Kaplan for the start of District 8-3A play.
“It’s going to be a big game for us,” Bernard said of New Iberia. “I think our girls are prepared. You can always learn more and improve, but I think for it being so early we’re as prepared as we’ll need to be for right now.”
Erath’s level of play has been consistent with that of a team that’s embraced high expectations coming into the season.
The Bobcats returned all but one player from their roster, including four seniors in captains Gabby Harrington and Olivia Blanchard, along with Logan Goutierrez and Hannah Soileau.
What hasn’t gone according to plan, though, has been Bernard’s ability to utilize junior post players Kirby Lucas or Ann Marie Frederick because of season-long back injuries.
“We hoped to get them back for district,” Bernard said. “We’re not pushing them. We want them to get well in a safe manner.”
That Erath has essentially relied on a core group of six players to enjoy such a torrid start is a testament to the team’s determination and goal-oriented approach.
Junior guard Monette Bolden, who has games this season where she has scored 35 and 27 points, leads Erath with an 18-point average, while Harrington and Blanchard have also helped on the offensive end as well.
Goutierrez and sophomore Alexis Martin have supplied the Bobcats with depth, along with two-sport freshman Chloe Landry, who is currently out with a concussion suffered while playing soccer.
“It’s not the ideal situation but they’re making it work,” Bernard said. “We’re working on staying out of foul trouble.”
Erath won its first four games before falling 48-45 to Iota and later dropping a 42-31 decision to Northside, a Class 4A team that’s 16-1.
The Bobcats, seeded third, completed a three-game run to the Vermilion Parish title Thursday, knocking off the No. 2 seed (Gueydan 71-52) and No. 1 seed Vermilion Catholic (46-31).
“They were excited to be the first team from Erath to win the tournament,” Bernard said. “They were a part of history. It was great to experience that with this group of girls.”