ALEXANDRIA — It took a quarter for John Curtis to get going.
But once the Patriots got going, there was no slowing them down.
Curtis, the No. 1 seed, delivered the knockout blow in the second quarter and cruised to 74-37 victory over No. 5 Evangel Christian on Thursday in the Division I semifinals of the LHSAA girls state tournament at Rapides Coliseum.
Curtis (29-1) will go for its second consecutive state championship and fifth in school history at 4 p.m. Saturday when it plays No. 2 McKinley in a rematch of the 2017 final. The Patriots will also be looking to avenge its only loss of the season after falling to McKinley 44-43 in early December in the St. Michael Tournament.
That game was the only close game Curtis has played this season.
All 29 victories have been by double digits and Thursday's semifinal win was no exception.
"It's an amazing feeling," said senior guard Dynah Jones about all the lopsided wins. "This is my last go around, and we are just ready to close it out."
Jones, a Tulane signee, poured in a game-high 26 points to go with her 12 rebounds and four steals.
By the time Jones exited in the third quarter, she had almost single-handedly outscored Evangel. The Eagles had 27 points when Jones went to the bench.
It was a jaw-dropping run in the second quarter that put this one away early.
Evangel tied the game at 19 with 5:21 left in the quarter. Curtis then turned on the switch, scoring the next 23 points to build a commanding 42-19 halftime lead.
"We came out a little flat in the first half, not really playing our style," said Curtis coach Barbara Farris. "We were just kind of walking and a little lackluster on offense. We made shifts defensively and started getting steals and getting easy shots and getting into our true game style."
The run spilled over into the third quarter as Curtis scored the first five points.
"Our bread and butter has always been our defensive execution," said Farris, going for her third state title. "We have six or seven players who can score double figures every nigh,t but we have bought into this principle of wearing teams down and making anything they get under duress and it just makes anything easier on offense."
By the time Evangel's Tiara Young ended her team's drought with a basket at the 6:54 mark of the third quarter, the Patriots had rattled off 28 straight points.
"We just played a very good program and, we did the best we could," Evangel coach Meoka Young said. "They were awesome. It's hard when a team scores 30 points in the second quarter. We had a lot of momentum. But when they punched, it went away."
Tiara Young, the coach's daughter, scored 24 points to lead Evangel. She scored 16 of her team's 18 points in the second half.
Curtis sophomore Abryhia Irons finished with 12 points and 11 rebounds after missing last year's state tournament with a torn ACL.
"I came into this game pretty nervous, but my teammates picked me up," Irons said.
Jerkalia Jordan chipped in 13 points and seven rebounds for the Patriots, who forced 22 turnovers and outrebounded the Eagles 54-27. Curtis was so dominant in rebounding that it had more offensive rebounds (32) than Evangel had total rebounds.
Now Curtis needs to put up a similar effort to go back-to-back like they did in 2007 and 2008.
"It would mean everything," Jones said.