DENHAM SPRINGS — It is hard to imagine a girls basketball sequence that tops a 10-0 run to start a game. But a 14-5 third-quarter surge was the decisive momentum change that powered Doyle to a 61-50 road victory over Denham Springs on Monday night.
The win was the second of the year for the Class 2A Tigers over the 5A Yellow Jackets. The teams met last month in the title game of the Livingston Parish tournament. Doyle also won that game.
Making such a key surge a couple of days after two tough losses at the Allstate Sugar Bowl National Prep Classic in Westwego illustrated some balance and moxie.
“We live for these kinds of games,” Doyle’s Presleigh Scott said. “We want something to compete for. And when we know the other team is going to keep coming back, we’re going to keep fighting.”
Scott scored a team-high 21 points for the Tigers (17-3) to lead a quartet of double-figures scorers in the game played at DSHS' Hornsby gym. Elise Jones added 12. Treneisha Muse of Denham Springs led all scorers with 26 points. Wisconsin signee Kate Thompson added 21 for the Yellow Jackets (12-4).
“We always say our biggest offense is our defense,” Doyle coach Samantha White said. “We can turn it over or we can take bad shots, but our goal is always to push it back up the floor and hopefully get some transition points.”
Doyle came out on fire. Slowly, the Yellow Jackets inched closer. DSHS trailed by just three points at 18-15 after one period, thanks to two free throws by Thompson in the final minute.
The second quarter started much the same way the first one did. The Tigers scored eight of the first 10 points and led 26-17 with 5:18 left in the half after Scott made two free throws.
But Doyle scored just twice more in the first half. Denham Springs tied the game at 28 on two free throws by Thompson, who had seven second-quarter points. Muse had six in the period.
A free throw by Ken King gave the Yellow Jackets their only lead of the first half at 30-29 with 52.7 seconds remaining. However, a jumper by Meghan Watson with 43.6 seconds to go gave Doyle a 30-29 halftime lead.
Doyle’s depth and defense paid dividends in the second half. In addition to forcing turnovers, the Tigers defense typically collapsed around Thompson, making it hard for her to get the ball and get off shots. Only three DSHS players scored — a sharp contrast to Doyle’s balance.
A layup by Jones and a 3-pointer by Scott sandwiched between a bucket by Muse extended the Doyle lead to 35-31 with 5:26 left in the third quarter. The Yellow Jackets scored just three more points in the period. Doyle scored the final seven, including a 3-pointer by Glascock, and took a 44-34 lead into the fourth quarter.
The Tigers led by as many as 17 points in the fourth quarter. Denham Springs battled to cut the margin to nine twice.
“Hats off to them. … I thought they did a great job,” Denham Springs coach Blake Zito said. “They trapped on ball screens and got us out of our rhythm. It made it hard for us to get to our mismatch, which is our post players.”