Danayea Charles made 8 of 10 free throws in the fourth quarter to propel Helen Cox to a 54-47 win over Chalmette on Monday. “My coach told me to relax and just settle down while at the line,” Charles said. “I knew we could beat them. Once they started to foul me, I knew we had the game. I just needed to make my free throws.” The Cougars only allowed 8 points in the fourth quarter and forced 17 turnovers.

Coach Barbara Weary-Cox said she had confidence her team could finish strong. “We knew what job we had to get done and we were not going to disappoint on our home floor,” Weary-Cox said. “We wanted to secure first place in our district, and I told our girls to go get what they wanted. We played well down the stretch, and it left us on top.” The win by Helen Cox (2-15) evened the season series to 1-1 and pushed Cox to first place in the district. Chalmette (19-5) led after three quarters by seven points and seemed to be in position to control the clock. Poor execution in the Owls’ half-court offense led to turnovers which sparked the Cougars’ comeback. Deja Bunch made four 3-pointers to give her 20 points on the night. She also recorded four steals and five rebounds. Helen Cox had no answer for Bunch until she fouled out with 2:54 remaining. The Owls couldn’t not get their offense in sync without their star guard and fell behind with just under a minute remaining.

Owls coach Shondra Johnson thought her team gave great effort in the loss. “We didn’t play our best down the stretch and we lost,” she said. “We had a plan in place, and we didn’t execute like we should.” “When you lose your primary ball handler, it causes some difficulty in your offense. That’s what happened to us, but it’s not all on one person. We have to finish strong and play our game.” The turning point for the Cougars came on a defensive effort by sophomore Jasmine Aguillard. With 1:25 remaining, Aguillard stepped in front of a Hailey Marshall pass and scored on a layup to extend the lead to four points.

The Cougars opened the game strong and led 14-5 after 1 quarter. Charles scored 10 first-half points while Aguillard added 4. Chalmette didn’t stay quiet long. Sierra Jackson had 6 first-half points to help Chalmette pull within 22-21 at halftime Jackson finished with 11 points while Bria Burras finished with 11 points for the Cougars. Aguillard had 13 points and 15 rebounds.