HAMMOND — St. Michael the Archangel had sixth-seeded Rayne where they wanted them.
The No. 2 Warriors broke the Wolves’ full-court pressure and executed well enough on offense to build a 10-point halftime lead.
But a third-quarter lapse gave Rayne the opening it needed to claim a 48-44 victory over St. Michael in a Class 4A semifinal game at the Allstate Sugar Bowl/LHSAA Girls Top 28 tournament Thursday.
An 18-7 third-quarter run put the Wolves (31-2) back in contention. Charlesha Dugas and Tajane Butler each hit two free throws in the final 1:18 to snap a tie at 44, providing the margin of victory.
“I said to them in the locker room ‘Did you give everything you have,’ and they said ‘Yes,’ ” St. Michael coach Tami McClure said. “That’s all a coach can ask for. We had a rough third quarter, and that was difference. Not to take anything away from (Rayne), they did what they needed to.
“I think our passes went to the wrong places. We got away from our game plan. The main thing was to keep No. 5 (Dugas) in check, and she scored when they needed her to in the second half.”
Dugas scored 13 second-half points and finished with a game-high 21 points, along with nine rebounds. Whitley Larry added nine points and Amari Collins had 14 rebounds.
Rayne advances to play No. 6 Ursuline (26-5), a 58-50 winner over Karr in the first 4A semifinal played Thursday at SLU’s University Center. The 4A final is set for 8 p.m. Saturday.
“We were down by 15 to Scotlandville this year and came back and won by four, just like this game,” Dugas said of the post-Christmas tournament game at Northwest High. “We showed the same hustle. I knew I had to pick it up. I didn’t want this to be my last game.”
Jordan Schexnayder led St. Michael (27-9) with 12 points, while Essa Badon added 11, including three 3-pointers. Tyler Morrison had 10 points and 14 rebounds.
Morrison played a lead role in the first half. The Warriors aggressively broke Rayne’s press and rolled off six straight points to end the first quarter with a 15-9 lead.
Badon connected on two of her three 3-pointers in the second quarter and like Morrison had eight first-half points.
Rayne opened the third quarter with a 9-0 run. The Wolves didn’t take the lead until Ti’esha Young scored her lone basket in the final seconds, giving RHS a 37-36 lead going into the last period.
Morrison picked up her fourth foul in the final minute of the third quarter and sat out half of the final quarter. The Warriors battled and took a 40-39 lead on a basket by Molly Smith with 5:50 remaining. Dugas gave Rayne the lead again 33 seconds later.
St. Michael’s Schexnayder tied it at 44 by making two free throws with 2:40 to go. Dugas missed three of four free throws in the final 32.3 seconds. But that one free throw made it a two-possession game.
McClure credited her team for their efforts, noting that people doubted how far this seven-player senior class could carry the Warriors after nine seniors graduated in 2013.
“People told us we wouldn’t amount to anything their sophomore year,” McClure said. “But we got to the quarterfinals that year and lost in the second round last year. They took all that stuff in and fought for this. They bonded.”