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Wildcats end season in 1st round of playoffs

GRAY — The East St. John Lady Wildcats 43-46 fell in the first round of the Class 5A Playoffs as they traveled to H. L. Bourgeois on Feb. 19.

The Lady Wildcats went into the bracket at the 22nd seed against their district opponent, H. L. Bourgeois, who went in as the 11th seed. This was the third meeting against the two teams, having played and split wins in the district. East St. John had taken third place in the district and H. L. Bourgeois had taken second in the district. Both teams came out fighting from the jump and the Braves started off strong as they took the lead early on in the first quarter with a 7-14 score. The Braves kept consistent pressure on the Lady Wildcats in order to maintain their lead. Both teams traded baskets; however, the Lady Wildcats fell victim to turnovers and fouls early on, that would come back to haunt them later in the game. The Lady Wildcats fought hard to keep the deficit to a minimum while the Braves continued to hold on to the lead in the first half with a score of 22-27 in favor of the Braves.

The Lady Wildcats went into the third quarter strong and changed the momentum of the game. They pressured the Braves a little more than in the first half and decreased the lead to within four points at one time. The Lady Wildcats began to make more shots, capitalize on their opponent’s turnovers and defensively wear the Braves down to keep the score close at 29-36 by the end of the third quarter. The fourth quarter was a test of endurance as both teams turned up the heat and intensity of the game. H.L. Bourgeois continued, as they had all game, to keep the pressure on, but the Lady Wildcats also turned up the pressure as the Braves started to get flustered and make turnovers. With four minutes left and a couple of back to back forced turnovers, the Lady Wildcats went on a six-point scoring spurt which put them within one point of the Braves at 41-42. The Braves’ tenacity and pressure pushed the Lady Wildcats at 1:39, scoring a three-point play which made the score 45-41. The Lady Wildcats traded a basket to make the score 45-43. The Braves went to the free throw line and scored after a foul to make the score 46-43. With 13.3 seconds left the Lady Wildcats attempted to tie the score with a three-pointer, but missed to end the game with a loss, 46-43 as the final score.

The Lady Wildcats had an amazing season this year and will be back stronger next year. Congratulations to all of the girls and their remarkable coach and best of luck next year!

In other playoff news, St. James’ Lady Wildcats fell in the first round as well to Ville Platte with a score of 55-44.