Paced by a stellar defensive effort which held Fontainebleau High School without a field goal in the first half, Mandeville defeated the Bulldogs 26-17 in girls District 6-5A action on Friday night in Mandeville.

Mandeville (12-7, 2-2) was led by Jaz Menina’s game-high nine points. Madison Futrell, Elise Reilly and Jannah Boudreaux each had four points and Janeica Menina and Shantel Short combined for four points in the win.

“Our defense kept us in the game even though we struggled so much offensively,” Reilly said. “It was really the difference in the game. We were able to stop them when we needed to the most and it helped us pick up the win.

“When you don’t hit shots, you have to keep yourself motivated and your head in the game. Our defensive effort did that for us tonight.”

Fontainebleau (16-5, 3-1) was led by Kayla Torregano with seven points. Southeastern Louisiana signee Jaclyn Scholvin had seven points while her sister, Jenna Scholvin, added three.

Breaking out to a quick 8-2 lead on baskets from Jaz Menina, Reilly and Futrell, the Skippers held an 8-6 lead after the first eight minutes.

The lead grew to 15-7 in the second quarter on a 3-pointer from Jaz Menina with 32.3 seconds left in the half.

The Skippers defense once again paced the effort, holding Fontainebleau to a single point — a Jenna Scholvin free throw.

“Fontainebleau is a good team, and we were fortunate to come out victorious tonight,” Skippers coach Melissa Weinmunson said. “They did a good job slowing the game down and limiting the possessions for both squads. It really put extra stress on us to be efficient with every possession we had on the floor.

“Thank goodness early on we pushed the ball down the floor and got some early transitional buckets.”

A basket by Jenna Scholvin with 4:53 to go in the fourth quarter cut the Mandeville lead to 19-17, but that was the last points for the Bulldogs as Mandeville finished the game on a 7-0 run.

Reilly said now that now that the Skippers are fully healthy, she expects big things the rest of the season.

“Now is the time to kick it into high gear,” she said. “Coach Weinmunson told us before this game that a victory tonight could ignite us on a run. Hopefully this is the start of good things to come because this team needs to get into the playoffs.

“We need to make the postseason.”

Weinmunson echoed Reilly’s comments.

“Having so many injuries early on has allowed us to really build quality depth, which will hopefully help us as the season progresses,” she said. “This was a really big win for us because we have been trying to find a rhythm. We needed a win on the road against a quality team and we were able to do that tonight.”