LAKE CHARLES — A frantic rally came up just short for St. Thomas Aquinas.
The Falcons cut a double-digit lead down to two points in the final minute during Thursday’s Class 2A semifinal at Burton Coliseum.
The 2013 state champions had two chances in the final three seconds to tie the game but were unable to make the shot to force overtime as No. 3 St. Thomas Aquinas fell to No. 7 North Caddo 59-57.
“I wish I had one more timeout,” St. Thomas Aquinas coach Melaine Kramer said.
In the first half, neither team seized control as the lead changed hands three times, with St. Thomas Aquinas (25-9) holding a 27-26 lead at halftime. The Falcons may have had the lead, but the Rebels were winning the down-low game with 23 rebounds in the first half.
“We had inside position a lot,” Kramer said. “We just didn’t do a very good job of keeping them out of the paint.”
North Caddo (23-11) took the lead with a 6-2 run to start the third, but St. Thomas Aquinas rallied and tied the game on Carly Drude’s layup with 2:27 left in the period. Then Courtney Dawsey’s layup moments later gave the Falcons their first lead since halftime.
North Caddo ended the quarter on a 7-0 run and held an eight-point lead with 6:44 left in the fourth. St. Thomas Aquinas respond with 8-0 run and did so without starting point guard Dawsey who fouled out with 6:02 left in the game.
“We had our point guard out, and we don’t have a lot of ball handlers,” Regan Bolton said. “I had to come in and make some shots.”
With 3:51 left, the game was tied at 48-48, but North Caddo’s Jasmine Thomas and Sumer Williams sparked an 11-0 run. With 1:18 left, the Rebels appeared to have finally pulled away from the Falcons, but that couldn’t have been further from the truth.
St. Thomas Aquinas’ Regan Bolton would score six points in 21 seconds to pull the Falcons within five points. Then with 25 seconds left, Meghan Becerra hit a 3-pointer which made it a two-point game.
North Caddo meanwhile went scoreless in the final 1:18 of the game.
“The last minute and minute and a half was horrible,” Channel said. “We did not execute like we wanted to.”
St. Thomas Aquinas had two opportunities in the final three seconds to tie the game. After a turnover by Summer Williams and a timeout, Carly Drude missed a baseline layup. Jada Richard grabbed the rebound but stepped out of bounds.
Williams threw the ensuing inbounds pass out of bounds. That gave St. Thomas Aquinas a chance with one second left, but Drude’s inbounds pass was stolen by Jasmine Thomas.
Bolton led St. Thomas Aquinas with 26 points while Williams led North Caddo with 20 points and 13 rebounds.
North Caddo will face a familiar foe in Pickering, the team they ousted from the state semifinals last season by 21 points.
Channell though knows her team must play better than they did Thursday.
“It’s going to be a tough game,” Channell said. “We watched them last night and you can tell who controls the game.”