Block wins Class 1A championship

Published 12:00 am Sunday, March 8, 2009

MONROE, La. — Tyra Jefferson scored 17 points and made the biggest free throw of her career late in the fourth quarter as the Block Lady Bears defeated the Metairie Park Country Day Lady Cajuns 47-46 Saturday afternoon at Fant-Ewing Coliseum to win the Class 1A state championship.

“It came down to the wire. They (Country Day) and went to the line for a one-and-one. Tyra made the front end,” Block head coach Kristy King said.

Jefferson’s free throw gave Block a 47-46 lead. After Block turned it over, there was a jump ball situation, and Country Day had the possession arrow on its side. But the Lady Bears went to a man defense and forced a five-second violation as the Lady Cajuns were unable to inbound the ball.

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Block, which finished with a 29-4 record then successfully inbounded the ball and ran the clock out and the celebration was on. Jefferson was named the Most Outstanding Players in Class 1A.

This was Block’s fifth time in the state championship game, but the top-seeded Lady Bears had never won it all until now. And they had a lot of fans at the game not only from Jonesville, La., but from other cities as well.

“People that used to go to Block came in from as far as Dallas and Baton Rouge,” King said. “I can’t take it all in.”

Block got off to a slow start thanks to a zone defense that third-seeded Country Day used throughout much of the first half. That allowed the Lady Cajuns to take a 12-10 lead at the end of the first quarter.

“We like a more fast-paced game. They did a good job in the zone,” King said. “We changed our press. We went from a 1-2-1-1 to a 2-2-1 and started getting more steals. In the end of the second quarter we went on a run.”

Block went up by as many as five points before Country Day responded with a run of its own to take a 26-23 halftime lead. But neither King nor the players were discouraged.

“I told them at the half to keep taking it to them and we’ll come out on top. Our post players weren’t having a good game, but our three-point shooters stepped up,” King said.

Block outscored Country Day 14-10 in the third quarter to take a 37-36 lead. And thanks to Jefferson’s free throw, the Lady Bears were crowned state champions.

Arnesha Beard scored 13 points and Shateca Collins added nine points.

“Tyra, she was on fire. I think she only missed two shots the entire game. Arnesha made some big three-pointers in both games. She and Collins took charge of the game,” King said.

Metairie Park Country Day (24-9) was led by Ariel Bartholomew with 17 points and Alex Waguespack with 10 points.