SCOTT — The Acadiana girls basketball team put up a good fight for a half against Natchitoches Central, but the Chiefs used their depth and athleticism in the second half to end the Rams’ season 70-46.
“The score isn’t a very good indicator of the type of game it was,” Acadiana coach Nic Jeffers said. “Unfortunately we ran out of gas down the stretch.”
The Chiefs closed on a 17-2 run and outscored the Rams 38-19 in the second half. Jeffers said he only had seven players at his disposal.
The two teams played a back-and-forth first half, where neither team built up a lead larger than five points.
Natchitoches Central didn’t make a field goal in the game’s first 3:30, but it stuck with Acadiana by making seven of eight free throws during that stretch.
“They were tight. I don’t know if they were nervous or something,” said Natchitoches Central coach Nikki Jones. “They weren’t in the feel of the game.
“They weren’t cutting, they weren’t playing good on defense, they were throwing the ball away, they weren’t executing — things we were working on all week.
“I wasn’t happy with the way they were playing in the first half.”
But the game started to turn early in the third quarter.
Acadiana’s Paige Francis opened the third quarter with a 3-pointer to cut Natchitoches Central’s lead to two points, but after the two teams traded buckets, the Chiefs went on the game’s first extended run.
Natchitoches Central’s Jolicia Williams buried a 3-pointer to push Natchitoches Central’s lead back to five points and kick start a 12-2 run.
Princess Cohen scored seven of Natchitoches Central’s 12 points during that run. Despite being held scoreless in the first quarter, Cohen scored a game-high 26 points, 18 of which came in the second half.
The Rams still had some fight in them, trimming a 14-point deficit down to nine by starting the fourth quarter on a 7-2 run, but once they started quickening the pace to try to make up points, they played right into the Chiefs strength, and Natchitoches Central closed the game on a huge run.
“From the film that I’ve seen on them, they’ve done that to everybody,” Jeffers said. “They’ve done that to some of the best teams in the state.”
Nia Antoine led the Rams with 15 points, but Natchitoches Central only allowed her to score two points in the second half.
Despite the inglorious end to the season, Jeffers was proud of the way his kids battled Monday.
“We gave a full 32 minutes.We never quit right down to the second to last possession,” Jeffers said. “Nia Antoine was out there guarding No. 11 (Cohen) with everything she’s got. I’m going to tell them that I’m proud of them.
“I’m going to tell them that I love them, and that we learned a lot this season.”