The unbeaten Warren Easton girls basketball team struggled through a half against a bothersome Chapelle team, then used a decisive run in the third quarter to pull away for a 45-42 victory in the opening round of the Allstate Sugar Bowl National Prep Classic on Thursday.
Leading 20-16 at halftime, the 17-0 Eagles used a 12-0 run early in the third quarter to separate from the Chipmunks after Chapelle (10-10) had tied the game at 20.
“That spurt in the third quarter was decisive,” Chapelle coach Mike Krajcer said.
Easton held a 42-27 advantage with four minutes left but had to survive a five-point possession by Chapelle in the final minute. A Chapelle 3-pointer at the buzzer cut a 44-39 lead to the 45-42 final.
With 1:24 remaining Easton, the No. 1-ranked team in the Advocate’s Super 10, led 44-34. Chapelle’s Indya Tutt was fouled and a technical foul was called on the Eagles. Tutt made three of four free throws, and Kyla Duncan scored on the inbounds play to make it 44-39.
Easton’s Kechelle Figueroa led all scorers with l6 points. Shaniqua Tobias added 12. Keiara Williams scored six but dominated inside play with 11 rebounds and four blocked shots.
“They have size, they are athletic and they can shoot from out,” Krajcer said.
Kyla Duncan led Chapelle with 14 points, and Kayla Jones added 10.
Easton will play Karr, a 59-41 winner over Assumption. Karr, the No. 2-ranked team in the Advocate’s Super 10, will play Easton at 6 p.m. Friday.
“We’ll find out a lot about ourselves in this tournament,” Easton coach Darius Mimms said.
The beginning of the game matched the frigid weather outside. The first five possessions resulted in turnovers and the sixth ended with a rebounding foul. The first seven possessions produced only one field goal attempt.
But Nikole Haroon sparked a 6-0 run midway through the opening period, and the Eagles led 8-6 at the end of the quarter. Another run in the second quarter enabled the Eagles to move in front 20-16 by halftime. A 3-point basket by Tobias capped a 7-0 run that broke a 13-13 tie and made it 20-13.
“Sometimes we rely too much on our athleticism,” Mimms said. “I want us to play more fundamental (basketball). I was happy with that run (in the third), but overall was not happy with our play in the second half. We pulled away, but couldn’t put it away.”