John Curtis girls basketball coach Barbara Farris described her team’s loss to Cabrini on Nov. 24 as “one of our ugliest losses of the season”.
The Patriots finally made up for that “ugly” loss by spoiling the Crescents’ senior night with a 44-33 win in a nondistrict matchup at Cabrini on Thursday night.
“I thought we let them get back in the game by giving up too many second-chance points off offensive rebounds,” Farris said. “Once we started playing with more attention to detail and forced a few turnovers, that gave us enough cushion in the end.”
After Thursday’s win, the Patriots — ranked No. 9 in the New Orleans Advocate Girls Super 10 — conclude the season with a 19-12 record and are expected to enter their first postseason in Class 5A with a top-10 seed.
Despite only having one senior among her rotation of players Thursday, much of the Curtis roster experienced last year’s first-round upset at home in the Class 3A playoffs, and they plan on using that experience to propel them once the playoffs begin.
“We took that loss last year tough,” said sophomore guard Dynah Jones, who finished with a team-high 18 points and four blocks.
“We’re young, but we’re progressing, getting smarter and learning how to work together. Hopefully, that will show once the playoffs start”
The No. 7-ranked Crescents (20-11) lost their senior leader Rakell “Queen” Spencer, a Texas A&M signee, to a torn ACL in a loss to Ursuline last week, and her team struggled to find enough scoring to make up for the senior leader’s absence early.
Cabrini didn’t reach double-digit scoring as a team until the three-minute mark in the second quarter following a putback by Brionne Woods, but remained close enough to go into halftime trailing 22-14.
The Crescents bounced back in the third quarter, matching their first-half production on the way to outscoring the Patriots 14-10 in the period, but Curtis’ defensive pressure was too much to handle in the end.
Curtis forced Cabrini into six turnovers and held them to five points in the final period as the Lady Patriots extended their lead to double digits and secured the win in Cabrini’s final regular-season home game.
Kelsey Pinera led the way for the Crescents with 14 points and five rebounds.
“The turnovers really hurt us, especially in the fourth quarter,” said Cabrini coach Nancy Walsh. “We just didn’t do a good job valuing possessions and recognizing some of the things they threw at us defensively.”
Walsh said that the loss of Spencer was devastating for her team and that it will take a team effort in order to replace everything the senior provided. The Crescents conclude the regular season Saturday at Madison Prep.
“Anytime you lose a player like Rakell it hurts your team a lot,” she said. “We just have to realize that one person won’t be able to replace her production, and that everybody will have to step up a little to fill in that gap.”