WALKER — When a team is down by six or more points with less than three minutes left, the odds of a rally generally diminish. Don’t tell that to Salmen’s Arianna Cooks.
Cooks hit a 3-pointer from the left side to give Salmen its first lead with 38.7 seconds remaining. The freshman then made two free throws to help Salmen notch a 61-55 victory over Mount Carmel Academy at the Walker Lady Cat Tourney on Friday night.
“I knew it as soon as it left my hands,” Cooks said of the 3-pointer. “And I knew we needed it. Mount Carmel is a good team. They had us the whole game.”
The game between defending 4A state champion Salmen and defending 5A state champion MCA provided a highlight for the second day of the three-day tournament that features 43 teams.
Salmen was one of two New Orleans teams to post wins in the main gym. Karr raced ahead early on its way to a 47-37 win over Zachary.
What made the Salmen-Mount Carmel game unusual was the way the Spartans won. The Cubs led by double digits several times. Mount Carmel held a 55-49 lead with less than three minutes left. Salmen scored the game’s final 12 points.
There were key plays by the Spartans’ 6-foot-5 Baylor signee Kalani Brown, who finished with a game-high 18 points. Brown also had a key rebound with 22.5 seconds left as the Spartans (7-3) took control.
“This is a young team and we’re still trying to figure out some things,” Salmen coach Dee Brown said. “What we haven’t done is come out with that intensity, which is something Salmen basketball has always been known for. So I challenged them, and they responded. This is a start.”
Tiara Warren finished with 15 points, while Cooks and Deja Starks each had 10 for Salmen. Paige Franckiewicz had 15 points to lead Mount Carmel (10-3). Lauren Badino had 14 and Taylor Berry added 13 for the Cubs.
“You lead wire-to-wire and then lose,” Mount Carmel coach Kevin McGlathery said. “We’ll learn from this. The bottom line is we have to finish. We have to finish shots, finish possessions and finish on defense.”
Mount Carmel led by eight points at halftime. Salmen started cutting into the lead. A basket by Kalani Brown just before the buzzer cut MCA’s lead to three at 42-39 going into the final quarter.
Two 3-pointers, one by Berry and the other by Franckiewicz, staked the Cubs to a 55-49 lead before Salmen began its final push.
KARR 47, ZACHARY 37: Karr dominated the early going and led by as much as 17 points in the third quarter.
Karr played without one starter and built a 17-point lead. The Cougars (12-0) held off a late rally to come away with a 47-37 victory over Zachary.
“We played without a couple of players today, including one starter,” Karr coach Jessica Barber said. “That was good for us because it forced other players to step up and do things they haven’t done.
“Zachary pushed us in the second half. They made adjustments, and I was pleased with how we responded.”
Imani Mulmore finished with 14 points and Rehema Franklin added 13 for the Cougars, who forced a series of turnovers with their pressure defense. For a while it looked like Zachary couldn’t cut the lead below 10.
ST. THOMAS AQUINAS 60, WEST MONROE 56 OT: Hammond-based STA (7-3) outscored West Monroe (13-2) by an 8-4 margin in overtime to grab the win.
Jada Richard hit a crucial 3-pointer during the overtime period for the Class 2A Falcons. Regan Bolton scored a game-high 25 points, including four 3-pointers, to pace the winners.
Courtney Dawson added 19 for St. Thomas Aquinas. Samarius Colquitt led 5A West Monroe with 22 points, while Abby Lee contributed 19.