Vermilion Catholic coach Kim Guidry recalls the extenuating circumstances her Lady Eagles dealt with in order to reach the Girls Top 28 tournament last season.
Instead of hosting an anticipated home regional contest, a first-round upset sent Vermilion Catholic near the Arkansas border. Following two days of delays because of ice and snow, the Lady Eagles handled Plain Dealing 57-36 en route to a Class 1A state runner-up finish.
For the second year in a row, Vermilion Catholic will make another lengthy regional trip when the No. 5 Lady Eagles (24-6) visit No. 21 Homer (12-11) Monday at 6 p.m.
“It’s déjà vu like last year,” Guidry said. “Things happen for a reason. Basile, (a 54-40 loser to Homer), was the better team and should have won and didn’t. If we can take of business, we can host a quarterfinal in front of our home crowd in the last game you can host.”
No. 9 Gueydan, also of District 7-1A, is facing a similar challenge with an approximate two-hour trip to meet No. 8 Southern Lab (24-5) on Monday at 6:30 at the F.G. Clark Activity Center.
“We knew we were in a position to have a tough road,” Gueydan coach Randall Bertrand said. “We have to handle our business, and we’ll be OK.”
District 4-4A members No. 12 Northside and No. 13 Carencro are two other Acadiana area teams hitting the road, with the Lady Vikings (27-5) headed to No. 5 Bastrop (21-1), while the Lady Bears (17-7) visit No. 4 Karr (21-7).
VERMILION CATHOLIC-HOMER: VC plans to embark on its regional contest at 9 a.m. and stop at Ruston’s Cedar Creek High School for a shoot-around, followed by a lunch.
The Lady Eagles will then complete the 230-mile trip to Homer, which is located in Claiborne Parish and 44 miles south of the Arkansas border.
“We’re trying to get them mentally prepared instead of driving straight there and play,” Guidry said. “They’re excited about having a road trip. It’s a good bonding trip.”
VC bounced back from a regular-season 57-40 loss at Gueydan with a quick start in its opening-round playoff game, leading No. 28 St. Edmund 35-15 at halftime before finishing with a 57-43 victory.
Guard Kelly White led a balanced scoring effort with 13 points, followed by Bella Doucet with 12 and Jay Demouchet and Leah Camel with 11 apiece.
“They’re so athletic,” Guidry said of Homer. “We have to stay fundamentally sound and not let their home crowd get to us. We have to do the little things right. We’re going to do what we’ve done all year. I think we’re prepared.”
GUEYDAN-SOUTHERN LAB: Two years ago, Gueydan brought a much younger and inexperienced team and pushed Southern Lab to the limit, falling 34-24.
The Honeybears have two starters returning from that team and a modest three-game winning streak going against the District 6-1A co-champion Lady Kittens.
Junior Ke’ara Charles started as a freshman in the 2014 regional playoff game against Southern Lab along with freshman T’nia Leger. A third starter, sophomore Ashari Terry, was lost two weeks ago to a torn ACL in the first quarter of a 49-47 loss to Lafayette Christian.
Freshman Kendra Petry moved into Charles’ starting spot and played a big part in Gueydan’s 53-45 first-round overtime victory over Grambling. Charles had a team-high 15 and Boudreaux added 10.
“We were young back then, and we gave them a run for their money,” Bertrand said. “It will benefit us with their experience on the floor and a senior in Nya (Boudreaux) to lead the charge.”