Behind Danayea Charles’ game-high 29 points and a strong second half, Helen Cox’s girls basketball team defeated Mount Carmel 66-57 on Monday night in Harvey.
Helen Cox (20-5) is ranked eighth and Mount Carmel (19-7) is sixth in The New Orleans Advocate’s Super 10 poll.
Bre Burras and Tyrionne Martin both added 13 points for the Cougars, while Taylor Berry led the Cubs (19-7) with 16 points and Kristen Nuss had 10.
After a 25-25 halftime tie, the Cubs led 43-39 after the third but the Cougars took control in the fourth.
“We just wanted to come out and get on the shooters. We knew they had two great 3-point shooters, so we wanted to make them have some tough shots,” Helen Cox coach Barbara Weary-Cox said.
After Cox’s Deandra Guy made two free throws with 7:49 left in the fourth, Charles scored to tie it at 43.
Weary-Cox said that when Brittany Hall and Martin left the game with injuries in the second half, Charles started to take over the game.
“As a senior leader, that’s what you’re supposed to do,” Cox said. “She welcomes that task. She doesn’t shy away from it. She knew when she had two starters step out — two of her teammates — she knew it was her job to step up and take control of the game. That’s exactly what she did.”
Charles made one of two free throws with 3:51 left to give the Cougars 51-47 lead. However, a 3-pointer by Megan Donaldson six seconds later cut the lead to 51-50.
With three minutes left in the game, Burras sank a 3-pointer that started an 8-0 run and was capped at the 1:21 mark when Burras made a layup on a fast break that put the Cougars up 59-51.
Taylor Berry then made two free throws that cut the lead to six with 1:18 left. From there, the Cougars made seven trips to the free-throw line.
While the Cougars didn’t gain an advantage until the fourth quarter, the perseverance is a well-honed skill, Cox said.
“That’s what we train for,” Cox said. “When the starters were tired, I always told them you have to suck it up. You all are young, you can rest when you’re dead. I told them they had to be prepared to play 32 minutes and overtime. That’s what we trained and conditioned for.”
Mount Carmel coach Kevin McGlathery said his team did not match Cox’s intensity in the fourth quarter.
“Cox is a good team. Unfortunately, we didn’t answer the bell when the pressure got high, when the intensity picked up, we didn’t answer the bell and match intensity,” McGlathery said. “I’m not saying it would have made all the difference, but it would have made it a closer game.”