After losing three times in the regular season to District 9-5A rival Mount Carmel, Chapelle coach Mike Krajcer Jr. “knew I had to throw something new .… a wrench” at the defending Class 5A state champions.
For a half, his plan gummed up the Cubs’ dynamic attack.
But halftime adjustments by MCA coach Kevin McGlathery led to 72.9 percent shooting (16 of 22) in the second half, and the Cubs pulled away to a 62-35 victory Thursday night at Mount Carmel in a bidistrict playoff game.
Fifth-seeded Mount Carmel (23-8) will advance to play the winner between 12-seeded Carencro No. 21 Zachary game in a regional battle Monday night.
“When you play a team four times, I know what they’re going to do, and they know what I’m going to do,” Krajcer said after his team finished 14-18. “It’s all about what wrench I can throw at them.”
His wrench was a triangle and two defense that dogged Mount Carmel guards Taylor Berry and Paige Frankewicz with tight man-to-man defense.
Mount Carmel shot 45 percent from the field in the first half, but led 24-18.
The Cubs matched their first- half total with a 24-point third quarter.
Kristen Nuss sparked two Mount Carmel runs that changed the game’s flow. In the first half, she had a hand in six points during an 8-2 run that turned a 12-11 lead into a 20-13 game.
In the second half, Nuss hit a 10-foot jumper to open the half, followed that with a 8-footer running into the lane and then a steal and a drive to the basket as the Cubs opened a 30-21 advantage in less than two minutes.
Nuss finished with 14 points. Taylor Berry had a game-high 17 and now has 1,563 career points. Megan Donaldson came off the bench to score 13.
“What (Nuss) does is not something you can coach,” said McGlathery. “When someone knows what you need when you need it and they execute, it’s a good thing.
McGlathery’s team was able to shake loose for better shots in the second half because of floor spacing, screens and ball movement.
“We only had three assists in the first half,” he said. “We moved the ball better in the second half. The difference was obvious.”