SULPHUR — New Iberia continued its late-season turnaround with an upset playoff over a familiar opponent on Monday.
No. 11 New Iberia went on the road and avenged two previous losses to District 3-5A foe Sulphur, turning the tables on the Golden Tors with a 45-50 Class 5A state regional victory.
The Yellow Jackets (18-13) will host West Monroe at 6 p.m. on Saturday. It will be the third quarterfinal appearance for a program that’s never advanced to the semifinals.
“I’ve never seen our kids more focused and locked in this week,” New Iberia coach Robert Pinckney said. “They’re a resilient bunch that’s very competitive.”
Sulphur, the district champion, defeated New Iberia 33-15 on Jan. 2 and again 48-34 three weeks later.
New Iberia led from the start, building a 23-15 halftime lead behind a new defensive approach that called for a triangle-in-two against Sulphur’s top two scorers, Haylee Kuykendall and Georgia Hansen.
“We wanted to try and take then away and make the rest of them beat us,” said Pinckney, who credited New Iberia boys coach Todd Russ with an assist in game-planning. “Kuykendall controlled the first game and took 17 free throws in the second game. She has a knack of getting inside the paint and drawing fouls and is dead on from the foul line. We had to limit her touches and didn’t want Hansen to start hitting threes.”
The plan worked with guards Taylor Jacob and Alexis Jones, who both scored three points, alternating at the top of the triangle with Kierra Anthony, Megan Carrier and Keily Joseph rotating at the bottom of the alignment.
New Iberia limited both of Sulphur’s top threats to four points apiece and held the Golden Tors (24-7) without a 3-point basket.
Anthony, a Louisiana Tech signee, led New Iberia with 20 points, which included some key field goals midway through the fourth quarter after Sulphur twice tied the game.
Carrier scored 10 points and had two of New Iberia’s five 3-pointers, while Urionne Jolivette had eight.
“The second time we played them Kierra was 2 of 18 from the field and 1 of 10 from the 3-point line,” Pinckney said. “She knew she couldn’t shoot the bad again for us to have a chance to win. This time she made her first six shots before her first miss.”
VERMILION CATHOLIC-PLAIN DEALING MOVED: The Class 1A state regional between No. 2 Vermilion Catholic and No. 18 Plain Dealing, which was postponed Monday, is scheduled at Plain Dealing on Wednesday at 6 p.m.
ARCADIA 65, LAFAYETTE CHRISITIAN 32: In Lafayette, Deandre Alexander was one of four double-digit scorers that propelled No. 4 Arcadia to the convincing Class 1A state regional win.
Arcadia (25-4) moves into the quarterfinal round later this week against the Gueydan-Merryville winner.
Raven Sampson and Kaelson Foster both scored 14 for Arcadia and Tamara Mackey added 10.
LCA (19-10), which won the school’s first playoff game last Thursday, trailed 14-8 after the first quarter before Arcadia went on to open a 29-13 halftime advantage.
A’ja Robinson paced the Lady Knights with 18 points.