DENHAM SPRINGS — Freshman Megan Abrams scored eight of St. Thomas More’s first 10 points and led the Cougars to a 55-49 win over Loranger on Saturday in the second day of the two-day Denham Springs girls basketball tournament.
St. Thomas More coach Stephen Strojny said Abrams, junior Bailey Hemphill and the contributions from his bench were the keys to the win. Abrams finished with a game-high 23 points and made 5-of-7 second-half free throws for the Cougars (13-3).
“We’re asking a lot out of a ninth-grader, but (Abrams) did a lot for us tonight,” Strojny said. “We had some girls come off the bench, knock down some threes, make some free throws, and for (Loranger’s) girls that came off the bench, I don’t think they produced like they normally do. I think our role players and our defense really gave them some trouble.”
Loranger (8-7) led 14-10 after the first quarter, but St. Thomas More’s Avery Breaux tied it at 14 with a layup. Hemphill hit a 3-pointer that gave the Cougars their first lead, 17-16.
The Cougars held Loranger to only five second-quarter points, and St. Thomas More went on a 12-0 run to start the third and led by 14. Loranger got back on track and Chelsea James hit a 3-pointer on one possession and finished a 3-point play on the next possession to cut St. Thomas More’s lead to two in the middle of the third quarter.
For every Loranger comeback attempt, St. Thomas More had an answer. After a three-point play by Allyson Howard and a buzzer-beating put back by Breaux, the Cougars led again by seven to start the fourth quarter. Breaux and Howard finished with nine points each.
“It was kind of like a playoff atmosphere and a playoff game,” Stephen Strojny. “I’m glad we came. They are a really good team. I’ve seen Loranger play a few times. They’re very similar to us.”
Both teams were in the bonus with 2:42 left in the game as St. Thomas More led by six. A 3-point play by Loranger’s Sydney Starkey cut the deficit to four with 14.6 seconds left to play. Abrams’ free throws sealed the win.
James led Loranger with 15 points followed by Starkey with 19 and Anna White with 12.
DENHAM SPRINGS 48, PORT ALLEN 27: The Yellow Jackets used their size advantage to win on their homecourt.
Denham Springs led 15-13 after the first quarter, but Christina Canale’s 3-pointer sparked a 14-0 Yellow Jackets run. Denham Springs outscored Port Allen 16-5 in the second quarter. Centers Payton Chustz and Maia Robinson combined for 10 of those 16 points.
“Looking at us, that’s our advantage against most teams — our size,” Denham Springs coach Shelly Laprairie said. “Our kids are really starting to buy in to what we want to do. Our post players showed up today and finished their shots.”
Robinson led Denham Springs (8-10) in scoring with 14 points, most of her points coming from put backs. Chustz followed with 10 and Tremeeka Spikes added 12 points and made 6-of-7 free throws.
For the Pelicans, Makayla Johnson and Jordyn Mitchell scored seven points apiece.