The South Lafourche girls’ basketball team had every opportunity to fold early in the season.
Battered by endless injuries and challenged by a brutal non-district schedule, the youthful Lady Tarpons sat with a 2-7 record after 9 games.
But instead of pulling apart, the Lady Tarpons banded together, and that unity has now powered the team all the way to the second round of the Class 4A State Playoffs.
No. 20 South Lafourche crushed No. 13 Washington Marion 52-35 on Thursday, using balanced scoring and a dominant second half to secure the opening-round win.
The win may be a shock to some around the state, given the seeding of the teams, but it’s no big surprise to a red-hot South Lafourche team, which ended the regular season on a tear with four-straight wins.
Coach Rainie Terrebonne said she is proud of the way her team played on Thursday at Lake Charles, saying that her kids went in with the goal of getting a win — a goal that they achieved through 32 minutes of teamwork.
“It feels great to advance to Round 2,” Terrebonne said. “The girls are really excited.”
It wasn’t easy.
Washington-Marion had home-court advantage over the Lady Tarpons, who had been on the road since 10 a.m., making the long trek from Galliano to west Louisiana.
They also had a size advantage, as well with several large post players to contend with throughout the game.
Those interior players had an impact, forcing South Lafourche into some early foul trouble, but the Lady Tarpons made up for it with quickness and firepower, leading 10-7 after the first quarter, then 23-19 at halftime.
Madison Ryan had 8 of her game-high 19 points in the opening half to help keep the offense going with several players battling fouls.
But in the second half, the Lady Tarpons recharged, refocused, shook off the rust from the long day of travel and got to work.
South Lafourche took control of the game in the second half, using the skilled playmaking of Ryan and Ava Pitre to roll to a double-digit lead in the third quarter. The junior duo had 11 of the team’s 15 third-quarter points in grabbing control of the game.
Pitre was the team’s second leading scorer in the win with 11. She left the game late with a busted chin, and had to get stitches, but is expected to be OK.
In the fourth quarter, South Lafourche held on with balance and a total team effort. Four South Lafourche players scored in the final stanza with Abbi Collins (8 points), Ellie Lorraine (7 points) and Madelyn Bourgeois (3 points) all pitching in to help seal the win.
The game got chippy at times, and Terrebonne said she’s proud of her team for staying settled amidst the storm.
“I think our girls did a fantastic job of keeping their composure,” Terrebonne said. “We told them to keep playing hard and protect the ball. This team plays with a lot of hustle and heart, and that’s what got us through it.”
With the win, South Lafourche moves to the second round where they will meet the winner of No. 4 Warren Easton and No. 29 Istrouma.
Regardless of the winner, that game will be in Galliano.
Terrebonne said the Lady Tarpons will be back at work over the weekend to prepare for their opponent — whoever it might be.
“We need to work on rebounding, our shooting and our defense for Monday,” Terrebonne said.