That proved to be the number of consequence in a pairing of No. 16 versus 17 seeds as Helen Cox pressured Chalmette into 27 turnovers to pave the way for a 59-44 victory in a Class 5A girls basketball bidistrict playoff game Thursday night at the Helen Cox gym.
District 8-5A champion Helen Cox (28-7) completed a three-game sweep of its league rivals from Chalmette to advance to the second round of the playoffs where the Cougars are scheduled to play top-seeded Barbe (29-3) in Lake Charles on Monday.
Barbe, which is 27-1 against state competition, recorded a 68-40 victory against No. 32 Hammond (15-17) on Thursday night in Lake Charles.
Senior guard Tyrionne “Tee’’ Martin hit three 3-pointers among her seven field goals in scoring a team-leading 17 points for the victors, who increased their margin of victory against the Owls for a third consecutive time.
Sophomore guard Mya Phillips scored 13 points, senior forward Jaxmine Aguillard had 12 and sophomore guard Ta’Nai Junior contributed 9 to the Helen Cox cause.
“We came out with intensity,’’ Martin said. “We knew that it’s hard to beat a team three times. Coach (Brenda Weary-Cox) said the other two games didn’t matter. Coach said that we needed to play with intensity.’’
The Cougars swarmed to the ball defensively from the opening tip in outscoring the Owls 17-10 in the first period, 15-12 in the third and 17-12 in the fourth.
Playing just six players, Chalmette (22-6) committed seven turnovers in the opening quarter, six in the third, five in the fourth and nine in a second period that produced a 10-10 deadlock.
“I think that as limited as we are, with basically playing five kids, that we fought as hard as we could,’’ Chalmette coach Shondra Johnson. “But you’re not going to win much with 27 turnovers.’’
Freshman point guard Alanna Donaldson scored a game-high 18 points for the Owls, who also got 15 points from senior guard Hailey Marshall.
Chalmette did manage to outrebound the taller and more athletic Cougars, 31-26, as Marshall and senior forward Raegan Young each grabbed eight while freshman forward Jakai Randall had seven and Donaldson six. Randall also blocked five shots while Young scored six points.
Phillips led Cox’s rebounding effort with 10 that included five offensive rebounds. No other Cougar had more than four.
Despite the turnovers, Chalmette kept the score respectable for most of the first three periods that ended with Cox leading 42-32. Some of that was attributable to Cox’s 15 turnovers.
“We had to take care of the ball,’’ Weary-Cox said. “I think coming in we kind of relaxed. It’s hard when you’re playing a team three times. But we picked up the intensity in the second half and put pressure on their guards. We knew they weren’t deep.’’
The Cougars now look forward to the challenge of playing top-seeded Barbe on the road in a scenario similar to that of last season when Cox faced No. 1 seed Mandeville on the road in the second round. Cox came within a last-second field goal of upsetting Skippers in a 45-44 loss to Mandeville.
“We look forward to it,’’ Weary-Cox said. “If anybody can handle it, we can. We’re going to rise to the challenge. If we win, it will be called an upset. But we’ll say we expected it. This is what Marsh Madness is all about. We like being the spoilers.’’