CARENCRO — The Carencro girls basketball team found itself down two late in the first quarter to Minden in the opening round of the playoffs Thursday.
Carencro coach Keesha Sices said the key to the ensuing 22-2 run into the second quarter was that her team began listening to the coaching staff. Carencro got 17 points from senior Jakalon Fils and 15 from senior Jada Taylor as the Bears rolled to a 70-53 win.
“I am very excited,” Sices said. “We knew in order to win they had to listen. We didn’t know what we were getting with (Minden). We knew they had size, and we knew they had girls that were going to get after it. We knew we had to look at the clock, look at the score and play patient basketball, and that is what we eventually did.”
Sices said the senior leadership she got from Fils and Taylor was invaluable, especially late in the fourth quarter when Minden went on a run to the cut the lead to 58-49.
“Jada Taylor has been that go-to person for me,” Sices said. “When I need someone to orchestrate where the girls need to be on the court, she can do that. She and Jakalylon Fils stepped up with some big senior leadership.”
Minden coach Jacob Brown said he was very pleased with his team’s fight and effort to cut the lead to nine. Brown said the hole they dug themselves in the second quarter was the difference.
“We anticipated some full-court pressure, and we were prepared for it,” Brown said. “We didn’t handle it early and turnovers began to mount and fouls got us quickly.
“I can’t say enough good things about the way my team fought, though. We’ve been in that situation before. Being on the road and being on the road all day, it’s very easy to just lay down there, but we continued to compete. (Carencro) didn’t just walk out with a win.”
Mariena Hill led the Crimson Tide with 14 points.
Sices said Minden’s size presented a few problems, but her team combated that with speed and the defensive press that caused them fits.
“Those girls were big, and they had big heart,” Sices said. “We just stuck with the full court press, and if that’s going to work, we’ll work it until it doesn’t work anymore.”
From the beginning of the year, Sices said her team has had aspirations to play in the championship game. She said Thursday’s game was a tough test, and hopefully the fourth-quarter adversity they faced will provide the experience needed for bigger things.
“We were playing their game,” Sices said. “I just told them to stop slowing down and get it up the court. Why were we rushing? We have to look at the clock and look at the points and not make bad passes and be smart with the basketball.
“This was just the first hurdle to what we’ve been working for all year.”