Houma Christian overcame St. Katharine Drexel Prep’s aggressive play on the way to their 57-34 semifinal win in the Academy of Our Lady Penguin Winter Classic Tournament.
Junior point guard Kourtne Lee led the Warriors with 12 points, six assists, eight rebounds and two steals but said the game wasn’t easy despite the score.
“We knew we had to slow down and focus, do more reading than reacting. We had to come out and play our best game,” Lee said. “I felt I did good, but I could have done some stuff better. I could have passed when I shot, and I could have just done a little bit more.”
Houma Christian coach Kathy Luke praised her point guard for battling through the physical game and leading the Warriors.
“When you have a point guard, you want a point guard that’s mentally tough and she is. She’s also physical, and she’s got great ball handling skill, and they’re not going to take the ball away from Kourtne very much,” Luke said. “I’m proud of her effort and her leadership on the floor.”
By the end of the first half, the Warriors led the Yellow Jackets 28-13. They found their legs in the second half and went up by 43-24 after three quarters, before beating the Yellow Jackets full-court-press in the final quarter.
“(St. Katharine Drexel Prep) is a very talented team. They wear you out physically and mentally by them pressing the entire game. We haven’t experienced that so far this year, but I thought our kids handled the adversity well,” Luke said.
St. Katharine Drexel Prep coach Terry Wilson said the Yellow Jackets’ slow start helped play into the Warriors’ game plan.
“We were settling for outside jump shots, when we should have been taking the ball to the rack,” Wilson said. “No matter what happens, you have to get off to a good start and keep continuing to play. I think somewhere in there we just didn’t play as hard and as good as we could have, but (Houma Christian) did a good job.”
The Warriors’ senior tandem of Jordyn Marie and Dalesia Williams accounted for 25 points, as eighth-grader Laikyn Spry came off the bench with nine points and sophomore Xariel Washington added nine points.
“I love my team, they’re motivators to me and we motivate and pump up each other,” Lee said.
With the win, the Warriors (11-0) advance to the tournament final against the winner of Academy of Our Lady and South Terrebonne.
Lee said the team will have to continue to be patient and read, rather than react against their opponent in order to have success in the final.
With the final next, Lee smiled at the thought of taking home the tournament championship to ring in the New Year.
“This would be a good one, yes,” she said.