DHS will face Mount Carmel for crown
Published 11:45 pm Friday, March 7, 2014
By RYAN ARENA
LAPLACE — For the first time in school history, Destrehan will compete for a girls basketball state championship.
Led by freshman Cara Ursin’s 32 points and 14 rebounds, the Wildcats defeated Helen Cox in Lake Charles Thursday night, 70-57, in a Class 5A state semifinal game.
Sixth-seeded Destrehan will face No. 9 Mount Carmel at 6 p.m. Saturday night at Lake Charles’ Burton Coliseum.
The Wildcats (31-1) have not lost since Nov. 25, Thursday’s victory representing the team’s 28th consecutive win.
“We’re so excited,” said Destrehan coach Angi Butler. “This senior class was my first freshman class, and when we started four years ago we talked about this, that when they became seniors, we were gonna win it all. Now, we’re staring right at it.”
The Wildcats led throughout the semifinal after taking a 9-0 first quarter advantage on the back of some hot shooting by Ursin and Jordan Dabney. The Cougars hung tough for a half and trailed just 26-22 at halftime, but Destrehan scored 44 second half points to pull away.
“We’ve gotten off to slow starts this year,” said Butler. “That start kind of relaxed everyone. We talked before the game and I told them, this court is the same size, the basket is the same height. Don’t psyche yourself out.”
Dabney finished with 18 points for DHS, including three first quarter 3’s.
Wendion Bibbins and Tyrionne Martin each scored 13 points to lead Helen Cox (25-9), the bracket’s No. 15 seed.
Butler said that Ursin’s first three of the night helped her overcome some pregame jitters.
“It made her feel better. She has so much God-given talent and that performance is testament to that,” said Butler.
Mount Carmel defeated Denham Springs 70-52 in the other 5A semifinal. Both teams won nailbiters to get to the Top 28. Destrehan defeated Walker 57-55 on a late Dabney basket in the quarterfinals. Mount Carmel won 59-58 in its regional against Southwood and 50-48 in a quarterfinal matchup with Pineville.
MCA (29-6) is riding a 13-game win streak into the championship game.
Jennifer Clark led Mount Carmel in its win over Denham Springs, scoring 21 points. Paige Frankiewicz added 15 points and hit 5 of her 6 3-point attempts.
Saturday will also mark the first appearance for Mount Carmel in the championship game.
Butler noted that in her three previous seasons as Destrehan head coach, the Wildcats and Cubs faced off each time, the Cubs winning all three meetings. The two teams did not match up this season.
She isn’t intimidated by any means, however.
“I told our players that I want this matchup, I truly do,” said Butler. “I’ve lost to them every year and I want to change that. (Mount Carmel) is so talented, fundamentally sound and they shoot it so well. I told my players, this will be the toughest game of their high school careers, the one that makes you dig deeper and show more character than ever before.’
“This is going to be about who wants it the most.”