Before the season began, Warren Easton coach Darius Mims wasn’t so sure if junior forward Keiara Williams was getting quite the ink she deserved.
A few more performances like the one she had Monday night and that should no longer be a problem.
Williams scored a game-high 24 points and snatched 19 rebounds (both career highs) to lead Easton to a 79-63 victory over Mount Carmel in a battle of ranked teams.
“I just knew I had to rebound for my team so we could push the ball up and get buckets,” Williams said.
It was victory No. Sweet 16 for the undefeated Eagles, ranked No. 1 in The New Orleans Advocate Super 10.
“Keiara does all the dirty work,” Mims said. “I tell her if she can get a double-double every night, people are in trouble.”
Early on, it was Easton in trouble.
The No. 6 ranked Cubs (13-4) put an early scare into the Eagles, building a 30-20 lead on Taylor Berry’s layup with 5:40 remaining in the first half.
But in the blink of an eye, the Eagles showed just how explosive they can be, closing out the quarter with a 21-4 flurry.
Williams scored six straight points for Easton to trim its deficit to 30-26 with 4:03 left in the period.
Mount Carmel’s Kristen Nuss hit a jumper to put the visitors back up 32-26, but then Easton went on a 12-0 run.
Kechelle Figueroa drained a 3-pointer, then got a steal and a layup to pull the Eagles to within one (32-31).
It was followed up by back-to-back treys by Sabrina Banks and Shaniqua Tobias. Easton led 41-34 at halftime and never looked back.
“I watch all the teams in the state play,” said Mims, who led Easton to the 4A title game last season. “If we match the intensity of everybody we play, I feel good about every game we play.”
Figueroa finished with 20 points.
“Ever since the Hahnville tournament when she (Figueroa) didn’t play well, she has been playing lights out,” Mims said.
Tobias scored 15 (three 3-pointers) and Banks finished with 10.
Berry finished with 18 for the Cubs and Paige Franckiewicz chipped in 15, including four 3-pointers.
“We just have to close quarters better,” said first-year Cubs coach Kevin McGlathery. “That second quarter really hurt us. We didn’t close it well at all and we never really got back into our flow.”
Both teams will compete in the Sugar Bowl Classic that begins on Wednesday at the Alario Center.
Easton would like to win that tournament, but Williams is eyeing a bigger prize: a 4A title.
“I think we can go all the way,” she said.