Block wins, heads to championship game

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 4, 2009

MONROE, La. — Two teams that went undefeated in district play met in the Class 1A semifinals during the LHSAA Ladies’ Top 28 Tournament at Fant-Ewing Coliseum at the University of Louisiana-Monroe.

The No. 1-seed and District 3-1A champion Block Lady Bears took on the No. 4-seed and District 7-1A champion Southern Lab Lady Kittens Tuesday afternoon, and this game lived up to the hype.

Southern Lab looked ready to take control of the game until Arnesha Beard’s 3-pointer with four seconds left in the second quarter keyed a big turnaround. Block rallied for a 61-52 win to advance to the state championship game.

Email newsletter signup

The Lady Bears improved to 28-4 overall and will take on Metairie Park Country Day for the state title at 5 p.m. Saturday. Country Day, the No. 3-seed and District 10-1A champion, defeated No. 2-seed Oak Grove 43-34 in Monday’s semifinal game.

Block trailed Southern Lab 16-14 at the end of the first quarter and was down by 7 points at one time in the second quarter before going to its press defense.

“The first half we didn’t play good defense,” Block head coach Kristy King said. “They were getting easy shots.”

Beard’s big bucket allowed the Lady Bears to trail by just 2 points, 30-28, at the half. Then they used their press in the third quarter to get some key steals and transition lay-ups.

The result was an 18-8 advantage and a 46-38 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

“Our press worked pretty good. We got steals in the third quarter and we pulled ahead,” King said. “Everybody stepped up for us. We got up by 10 at one point.”

Block has not been known this season as being a good free-throw shooting team. But with a berth in the state championship game on the line, the Lady Bears were clutch, going 9-of-11 from the line in the fourth quarter.

Beard led all scorers with 19 points. Shateca Collins and Tyra Jefferson had 12 points each and Desiree Savage added 10 points. Nickara Talbert led Southern Lab (31-4) with 16 points and Jean Spears chipped in with 12 points.