Mandeville was defeated by No. 5 Denham Springs, 47-35, Tuesday night in the state semifinals of the 2016 Allstate Sugar Bowl LHSAA Top 28 tournament at the University Center in Hammond.
Denham Springs (30-3) advances to take on No. 2 Mount Carmel Friday night in the Class 5A state championship game, scheduled to start at 8 p.m.
The Skippers managed to shoot only 20.8-percent from the field (11-53) on the night. Elise Reilly led Mandeville with 18 points and Shantel Short had nine.
Denham Springs was led by Tremeka Spikes who had 12 points. Lexi McMorris and Maia Robinson each had 10 points for the Yellow Jackets.
Mandeville (30-2) broke out to an early 5-2 run with 4:41 to go in the opening quarter. That would be the last points the Skippers would score until midway through the second quarter as Denham Springs went on a 16-0 to take a 18-5 lead with 4:56 to go in the first half.
“We just missed too many opportunities offensively,” Mandeville coach Melissa Weinmunson said after the game. “Our shots just didn’t go down tonight. Defensively we just didn’t do what we normally do. We had some stuff go our way at some points, but we just couldn’t capitalize. We were able to cut the lead down a couple of times, but just couldn’t hold on defensively.”
Back-to-back 3-pointers by Reilly and Short cut the Denham Springs lead to 18-11 with 3:21 left in the first half, but the Yellow Jackets finished the second quarter on a 7-3 run to take a 25-14 lead at the half.
Reilly scored the first three points of the third quarter, again cutting the Denham Springs lead to single digits at 26-17, but a quick 6-0 run for the Yellow Jackets put the out in front again 32-17 midway through the third quarter.
A three-point play by Short on the opening possession of the fourth quarter to get Mandeville to the closest they had been since the first quarter at 34-27 with 7:28 to go in the game. Denham Springs once again responded as Maia Robinson made a pair of free throws and Spikes had a bucket to make it 38-27 with 5:39 to go.
The Skippers got as close as 40-33 in the final two minutes on a bucket by Reilly, but that is the closest Mandeville would get.
Playing in her final game as a Mandeville Skipper, Reilly will now move onto Spring Hill College in Mobile.
“It was almost like there was a lid on the goal, particularly in the first quarter,” Reilly said. “We were just off early and it gets in your head. You try not to let it, but it is hard.
“We were only down 11 at the half and we have been down that much before. We just couldn’t come out in the third quarter like we usually do and put together that run we need.”