Dutchtown girls basketball coach Annette Lowery’s game plan for her team in their Class 5A bidistrict playoff game against Fontainebleau was simple: pound the ball inside, again and again and again. Work for the short shot or the free throw.
The scheme worked well in the first half as 13th seeded Dutchtown broke out to a 34-24 halftime lead.
Then the game changed, and a strange third quarter saw the visitors cut the lead to 34-28 while Dutchtown (22-9) went more than five minutes without scoring.
Reagan Crawford finally broke the scoring drought after the Griffins missed four straight free throws, and that ignited a 7-0 run to end the quarter. Led by Kyra Harleaux’s 11-point fourth quarter, they tallied 19 more points for a 62-43 final.
“Execution kind of turned it around in the third quarter,” Dutchtown coach Annette Lowery said.
“Our guards started pushing the ball up the floor better. They switched men and kind of shut us down, but fortunately (Fontainebleau) wasn’t scoring much either. I was proud of our defense tonight. I think we caused 20-something turnovers.”
With the exception of a 3-pointer by Kyra Harleaux, most of the Griffins’ first-half field goals came from inside, and they were 9 of 14 from the free-throw line.
Fontainebleau (27-5), on the other hand, was not shy from the outside, getting two 3-pointers from Hailey Cole and another from Angelle Darby.
Fontainebleau coach Mark Beason saw several reasons for his team’s late fade.
“(Dutchtown) played well around the basket, and they’re well-coached,” he said. “We couldn’t play with them inside, couldn’t rebound, couldn’t hit open shots and we turned the ball over.
“We don’t back down from anybody, but we don’t have much of an inside game, so if we aren’t hitting outside shots, we don’t do well.”
Harleaux led Dutchtown with 17 points. Reagan Crawford had 13 points to go with 10 rebounds, and Chelsea Cain added 12 points. Tyler Smith opened with six first-quarter points but spent much of the game on the bench in foul trouble.
Darby, who has been bothered by injuries during the season, led the Bulldogs with 15, including three 3-pointers.
Dutchtown, which righted its ship after two lopsided losses to McKinley and East Ascension to end the regular season, will play at Denham Springs on Monday in the second round. The Yellow Jackets won a only regular season meeting between the two teams by six points.