In their final game before a showdown for district supremacy on the road against Loranger, the Salmen girls basketball team easily defeated St. Scholastica 65-38 Friday night in Slidell.
With the win, the Spartans (13-9, 2-0) remain unbeaten in District 8-4A, while the Doves fell to 8-14 and 0-2 in league play.
The ninth-ranked team in the New Orleans Advocate Super 10 basketball rankings, Salmen was led by sophomore Ashanti Eden’s 22 points and 11 points by junior guard Arie Cook. Sophomore Jaylen Huderson added eight points for the Spartans.
“To this team’s credit we didn’t overlook our opponent tonight,” Cook said. “We don’t overlook anyone we play, even with a game as big as the Loranger one coming up.”
After a Claire Schmitt bucket gave SSA a 4-3 lead with 6:11 to go in the first quarter, Salmen responded with a 16-0 run over the next 6:06, to take control at 19-4. Eden had eight points in the run for the Spartans, who held SSA to three field goals in the opening quarter.
Down 22-8 midway through the second quarter, Schmitt scored six points in an 8-2 SSA run that cut the lead to 24-16 with 1:32 left in the first half.
The only double-digit scorer for the Doves, Schmitt finished with 17 points.
“We had moments of success,” SSA coach Elicia Ocmond said. “The problem is we struggle with our consistency. We have to become a more consistent ballclub. Then we will win games.”
Junior Arie Cook hit back-to-back buckets to send the Spartans to a 28-16 halftime lead.
Continuing its high-pressured defense, the Salmen lead ballooned to more than 20 points in the third quarter en route to the victory.
“Defense wins games,” Cook said. “We knew that if we could pressure (SSA) throughout the game that it would lead to a lot of easy baskets, and that happened. You can win games when your defense presents you with a lot of easy-bucket opportunities. That is what we were able to accomplish tonight.”
The Spartans' focus now shifts to the first of its two games against Loranger on Tuesday. The Wolves enter the game 16-1 and 2-0 in district play and are the top-ranked team in Class 4A, per the latest unofficial LHSAA power rankings.
“I think this team is going to be ready,” Cook said. “We know that the first one is going to be at their place, so we are going to go over there and try to play our best.”