GONZALES — East Ascension’s Diniaa McZeal and Sedasia Leblanc scored four points each in overtime to power the Spartans to a 61-54 girls basketball victory over McKinley on Tuesday night before an energetic crowd.
McKinley (27-3, 8-1 in District 5-5A) had its 10-game winning streak snapped as the Spartans (17-2, 8-1) gained a share of the district lead.
EAHS also avenged an earlier 55-37 defeat. McKinley plays Dutchtown and EAHS plays St. Amant this week in final league games.
McZeal, a 5-foot-4 junior, scored a team-high 24 points and hit eight of nine free throws. She grabbed five rebounds and made two steals.
“We had to get it done tonight,” McZeal said. “The crowd got us hyped up and brought the energy. We played our game. We kept pushing on offense and made plays for our teammates.”
EAHS led most of the game until McKinley took a 46-45 lead on a traditional three-point play by guard Alexius Horne, who scored 13 of her game-high 26 points in the fourth quarter.
East Ascension’s Tristen Washington hit a 3-pointer and McKinley’s Erica Lafayette tied it at 48-48 on a follow shot with 2:05 remaining in regulation. McZeal then hit two free throws with 1:55 left for a 50-48 lead.
McKinley’s Jamia Schofield hit a layup with 1:24 remaining to knot it at 50-50. McKinley missed two 3-pointers and EAHS missed a free throw and a 3-pointer.
While McKinley won the fourth quarter by a 19-11 margin, it was all EAHS in overtime with an 11-4 point difference. The Spartans went on a 9-0 run in OT before McKinley’s Horne hit two baskets in the final minute to cut it to 59-54.
East Ascension’s Kendall Alvarez and McZeal hit a free throw each for the final margin. East Ascension’s Sadie Williams had a key blocked shot in OT.
“It was a big win and a good team effort,” East Ascension coach Dennis Chandler said. “McKinley is very good. My kids were hungry tonight. We shot free throws (18 of 24) well and took advantage of opportunities.”
EAHS jumped to a 13-8 lead after one quarter and 28-19 at half. McKinley had eight first-half turnovers.
“It was definitely a slow start,” McKinley interim coach Bridget Bowman said. “We just couldn’t get anything going on offense and didn’t execute on defense. We didn’t play our usual McKinley ball tonight.”
Washington added 14 points for EAHS. Alvarez and Leblanc had eight points each. Alvarez had four rebounds and five assists. Aja Causey had six rebounds and three steals.
McKinley’s Ciara Wren added 18 points, 15 rebounds, two blocks and a steal. Horne contributed eight rebounds, three steals, three assists and a block. Schofield added eight points for MHS.