The New Iberia girls basketball team was outrebounded, shot fewer free throws, committed 18 turnovers, and put Covington in the bonus in both halves of Thursday’s Class 5A bidistrict playoff game.
And still, the Yellowjackets found a way to win the game.
The 24th seed, New Iberia pulled off an upset of the ninth-seeded Lions at Covington’s Hubie Gallagher Gymnasium by the final score of 43-42. They next will face the Southwood/Ruston winner in the regional round.
The game wasn’t decided until the final seconds. After Taylor Jacob made a pair of free throws to put New Iberia up by a point, Covington’s Chastity Garrett missed a shot in the lane. Sydney Houlemard rebounded for the Lions, but she was tied up, and a jump ball was called. The arrow favored Covington, and the inbounds pass went to Tashia McDowell, who attempted a 3-pointer that missed the mark.
New Iberia’s Bailey Antoine grabbed the rebound, and the Yellowjackets’ bench and fans went into a frenzy as time expired. Antoine also made two key shots down the stretch to keep New Iberia (16-14) even with Covington.
“I knew I had to get in there and rebound, push it and make some more shots,” Antoine said. “Their trapping (defense) was tough and we had some turnovers ... but we can play with anybody. You have to believe in yourself and keep pushing.”
Shooting woes plagued both teams in the first half — the first quarter especially. Covington made 5-of-24 shots in the first half but hit 8-of-11 free throws to keep things close. The Lions also outrebounded the Yellowjackets 11-6 in the first half.
After New Iberia took an 8-5 lead to end the first quarter, a few shots began to fall. New Iberia (which was 6-of-8 from the field in the second quarter), pulled ahead 23-13 on a 3-pointer by Taylor Jacob with 2:16 remaining before halftime.
But Covington answered with six consecutive points to close the half — including a pair of free throws and then a driving 12-foot jumper by Asyah Laurant with :02 left. The Lions took advantage of nine New Iberia fouls in the half by making 7-of-8 free throws in the second period.
New Iberia led 23-19 at halftime despite seven turnovers. Covington had six giveaways before the half.
Covington (22-9) pressed on offense and defense to start the second half and found success, getting their first lead at 33-32 when McDowell sank a free throw. After letting the Yellowjackets ahead later in the fourth, Arteria McDowell made a baseline shot to put Covington ahead 42-41. That set up Jacob’s free throws and the clinching final seconds.
“These are the best ones to win and the hardest ones to lose,” Covington coach Christine Beauvais said. “It’s the finality of it. There’s no more games, no more tomorrow. But New Iberia did a good job, played physical and kept the score low, which is their type of game. We had opportunities, and we didn’t take advantage of them.”
Jacob led all scorers with 14 points. Antoine had 10 for New Iberia. Arteria McDowell and Chastity Garrett led the Lions with 11 apiece.