Behind one of its best defensive efforts on the season, No. 11 Northshore defeated No. 22 Hahnville 67-44 Wednesday night in the opening round of the Class 5A girls basketball playoffs Wednesday night in Slidell.
With the win, the Panthers (26-8) advance to the regional round against the winner of No. 6 Denham Springs and No. 27 Zachary who were scheduled to play Thursday night.
Hahnville, which came into the game having won 13 of its past 15 games, concluded its season 21-13.
While both teams spent much of the first quarter feeling each other out, Soniyah Reed’s bucket with 1:30 left in the first quarter gave the Panthers a 14-12 advantage. It was a lead that they would not relinquish.
Reed, a sophomore forward finished with a game-high 19 points for the Panthers. Tiarra Tillison added 11 and Raven Porter finished with 10.
Danae Lorio led the way for Hahnville with 12 points and Paceley Williams finished with 10.
Reed’s basket late in the first quarter ignited a 16-1 run for Northshore, which extended into the second quarter. The catalyst for the run and the entire game for Northshore was its defense which held Hahnville 5:38 without a made field goal.
In the entire first half, the Tigers made only six field goals.
Northshore forced 26 Hahnville turnovers.
“I thought the story of the game was how we performed on the defensive side of the ball,” Reed said. “That was the biggest reason we were able to come out victorious. It doesn’t matter how you win in the playoffs, all you are looking to do is advance, but for us to come out and play that well defensively was big.
“If we can continue that kind of effort, especially on that side of the ball, we have the chance to have a successful run.”
Tillison echoed her teammates sentiments.
“Good win tonight,” she said. “I thought we really played well forcing (Hahnville) into a lot of turnovers that led to a lot of easy buckets for us.”
Keeping their foot on the pedal coming out of the halftime locker room, the Panthers extended their advantage to 54-31 at the end of the third quarter.
It was the second matchup of the season between the two schools. The Panthers topped Hahnville 58-53 on Dec. 29 in the Haynes Academy tournament.