After falling behind at halftime of its bidistrict-round Class 1A playoff game, Southern Lab relied on senior leadership to take control against East Iberville.

With Nicole Bartley leading the offense and Lexus Tate sparking the defense, 10th-seeded Southern Lab rallied for a 46-40 win Thursday night at Southern University’s Seymour Gymnasium.

Bartley scored 13 of her game-high 16 points in the second half. That was also when Tate and the Lab defense clogged the lane after East Iberville found little resistance in the first half.

The win moves Southern Lab (16-10) into the second round to play at seventh-seeded St. Mary’s, a 72-40 winner over Ascension Episcopal.

“Bartley is a great leader. Tate did a great job, too,” Southern Lab coach Henry Combs said. “(Tate) is a great defender, and took (East Iberville’s Jasmine Mosby) out of her game.”

Alana Washington topped No. 23 East Iberville (14-17) with 13 points while Mosby had 12. Kenyette Jackson finished with 10. Mosby came into the game averging approximately 28 points per game.

“We’re very young overall, but I’m proud of my girls,” said East Iberville coach Cormanda Grace, whose team returned only two starters this season. “We hustled and played hard to the end.

“We don’t have much of a bench or a lot of experience.”

East Iberville found success driving to the basket in the first half, and created foul problems SLHS. Cailain Williams, Lab’s 6-foot, 2-inch freshman center, went to the bench early in the third quarter with four fouls.

Still, the SLHS defense limited East Iberville to 22 percent shooting in the second half. On the other end, the Kittens hit 7 of 14 shots, and built a 44-34 lead with less than two minutes to play.

“You would like to win every quarter you play, but sometimes other people put in their best effort,” Combs said. “That’s why you’ve got to play all four quarters. Our girls did a good job of staying on an even keel the whole game.”

There were five lead changes in the first half as EIHS hustled for nine offensive rebounds. The Tigers also made four 3-pointers.

Tate and Williams each scored four points and Bartley hit a 3-pointer giving Lab a 13-10 lead heading to the second period.

Washington’s baseline shot gave the Tigers a 17-15 lead early in the second quarter. SLHS responded with a 7-0 run. East Iberville got 3-pointers from Washington and Jackson to tie the score 23-23.

With time running out in the half, Washington beat the buzzer with a 3-pointer from the top of the key, and East Iberville took a 26-25 lead at the half.