The McGehee Hawks were hoping the third time playing against St. Katharine Drexel might present a different outcome than the first two.
However, when the teams met in the Division III quarterfinals Thursday at McMain, the Yellow Jackets' pressure defense was just as intense as they took a 46-34 victory.
St. Katharine, the Division III defending state champion, advanced to the semifinals in Alexandria.
“Our defense gave them a lot of problems, and we created a lot of turnovers,” said St. Katharine coach Terry Wilson. “We are an up-tempo team, and I thought the pace we had was too difficult for them.”
Guard Tyra Vaughn led St. Katharine with 17 points, but six other Yellow Jackets scored. Jaida Felix led the Hawks with 20 points, and Myla Bennette scored 11.
McGehee led 7-5 at 2:39 of the first quarter when St. Katharine tightened its defense and began jumping passing lanes and coming up with steals more frequently. It led to a 12-0 run that stretched to the 4:08 mark of the second quarter. That gave the Yellow Jackets a 17-7 lead.
The margin reached 12 points at 21-9 at the 2:19 mark, and St. Katharine led 21-9 at halftime.
“I think we were a little overwhelmed at the beginning,” McGehee coach Robert Pearson said. “That (12-0) run really put us in a bad spot. Emotionally, it took us out of the game.
“(Drexel) switched up their defense a little. We were able to reset at halftime. Our seniors (Felix and Bennette) gave a great speech at halftime, and we were able to get back in the game.”
Felix made a bank shot and a 3-pointer on consecutive possessions, as the Hawks outscored the Jackets 5-2 the first 1:31 of the third quarter to get to 23-18.
However, Vaughn had a putback, then got a rebound and went the length of the court for a basket in a 6-0 burst that gave St. Katharine back control. She capped the quarter with a three-point play with 2.9 seconds left that pushed the lead to 34-22.
Fifty-four seconds into the fourth, Tyrionne Sparks got a layup after a steal by Vaughn, and Gensie Wells followed with a baseline floater, giving St. Katharine its largest lead of the game, 38-22 with 6:03 left.