Coming into its first-round playoff game against Fontainebleau, the Dutchtown High girls basketball team knew it had a significant height advantage.
It was evident throughout the game against the Bulldogs as the No. 13 Griffins defeated No. 20 Fontainebleau 62-43 Thursday night in the bidistrict round of the Class 5A state playoffs.
Dutchtown advances to the regional round to take on fourth-seeded Denham Springs, which defeated Thibodaux in bidistrict action.
Kyra Harleaux led Dutchtown with 14 points. Raegan Crawford finished with 13. Angelle Darby was Fontainebleau's leading scorer with 16 points.
After trailing 3-2 in the early minutes, Dutchtown (22-9) took the lead for good with 7:12 to go in the opening quarter on a bucket by Chelsea Cain. The Griffins dominated the first half inside the three-second lane. They went to the free throw line 15 times in the first half.
After Fontainebleau (28-4) cut the lead to 14-2 on a 3-pointer by Hailey Cole with 1:32 to go in the first quarter, Dutchtown responded with a 6-0 run to finish the quarter, pushing the lead back up to a more comfortable 20-12 margin.
Holding the Bulldogs without a field goal for nearly the first five minutes of the second quarter, the Griffins lead grew to as big as 28-15 with 3:52 to go in the half on a Crawford bucket.
Fontainebleau had its fair share of chances to get back into the game in the second half. A bucket and pair of free throws by Darby cut the deficit to 34-28 to go in the third quarter, but that is as close as Fontainebleau would get.
Despite not scoring until 2:53 to go in the third quarter, the Griffins ended the quarter on a 10-3 run to increase their lead to 43-31 heading into the fourth.
“We were able to take advantage of our height and pound the ball inside,” Dutchtown coach Annette Lowery said. “It allowed us to get a lot of easy buckets and build a lead. Even though we didn’t play well, particularly in the third quarter, we did enough to come away with the victory.”
After completing an impressive turnaround from winless in district play in 2015-16 to 10-2 and co-champions this season, Fontainebleau struggled to develop a consistent offensive threat throughout the game, finishing with double-digit turnovers.
“Going to the playoffs in girls basketball at Fontainebleau High is not a regular occurrence,” Bulldogs coach Mark Beason said. “We are trying to build a winning program and mentality at this school. This is part of that process.
“Were we nervous? Of course, we were. But it is like a scary ride at an amusement park. You don’t know that until you actually go out and get on the ride. The future of this program is bright and this team and more importantly this program will continue to improve.”