Ascension TOY Shawancy Joseph

Shawancy Joseph

The two girls basketball teams representing Ascension Parish advanced with first-round playoff victories.

Donaldsonville advanced with a 56-28 win over BT Washington at home. The 12th-ranked Lady Tigers held a 15-12 lead at the half and put up 41 points in the second half for the easy victory.

Tia Joseph led the way with 16 points followed by Ja’nae Southall with 12. The Lady Tigers will travel to play No. 5 Kaplan, which defeated Richwood on Sunday evening.

“I am very proud of the girls," said coach Shawancy Joseph. "We changed a few things on how we prepared for the playoffs. Last year's first-round loss was a tough pill to swallow for me and the team."

The low score between the two teams was unusual for the Lady Tigers as they have put up points all season.

“We started off the game very slow and out of rhythm," Joseph said. "We wanted to speed the game up in the second half; the girls responded and our practice preparation allowed us to execute on both ends of the floor."

The Lady Gators, under coach Bianca Harvey, came into the playoffs as the 14th seed and came away with a thrilling 66-60 victory over No. 19 West Jefferson.

The Lady Gators were led by Amani Gray with 24 points, 13 of them coming in the fourth quarter. Amiyah Barrow added 13 points.

The Lady Gators trailed by 10 points in the fourth quarter and made a furious comeback led by Gray. Deniya Thornton and Halle Haydel made big plays down the stretch to secure the victory.

“It was a great win for us; even better to have it happen at home,” said Harvey.

The Lady Gators have something special going in girls basketball, but the coaches and players are not satisfied with just making the playoffs. “We have stressed all season that just making the playoffs is not our goal; we want to advance and keep winning,” Harvey said.

The Lady Gators face a familiar opponent in Walker, a team they lost to earlier this season. “We have played Walker this season and didn’t have much success," Harvey said. "The plan is to have a different outcome. It will be a battle for 32 minutes, but we will be prepared. The girls proved they deserve a place in the playoffs."