Lady Pios cruise into quarterfinals
Notre Dame’s Elise LeBeouf battles for a rebound Monday during the Lady Pios’ 57-29 Class 3A regional playoff victory over Green Oaks at Crowley High. (Photo by Jason Faul)
CROWLEY – Green Oaks went into Monday’s Class 3A playoff game against Notre Dame with a solid game plan, one that caused the Notre Dame Lady Pios problems in the opening half.
In fact, the plan was so good that the Lady Giants were able to limit the Lady Pios to just 17 shots from the floor in the first half.
Fortunately, the Lady Pios (26-4) got untracked in the second half and marched on to the quarterfinal round with a 57-29 victory over the Lady Giants.
The victory sends the Lady Pios to the third round of the playoffs where they will travel to Albany on Thursday for a 6:30 p.m. quarterfinal contest.
“You have to give them credit,” said Notre Dame coach Nolan Theriot of Green Oaks. “We prepared for what they were going to do and whatever we did wasn’t working real well. I don’t know if it was because we weren’t executing as well or if they did a really good job defensively.”
The Lady Giants posed problems for everyone in the first quarter – everyone, that is, except Madelyn LeJeune. The junior forward scored 10 points in the opening frame to help give the Lady Pios an 11-7 advantage.
“It was huge for Madelyn to knock down those shots early on for us,” said Theriot. “It obviously gave us a little cushion because with a team like that, you definitely don’t want to give them a lead on the road.”
The Lady Pios outscored the Lady Giants 10-5 in the second quarter to extend their cushion to 21-12 at the half.
That lead, however, could have been larger with the Lady Pios forcing 16 turnovers in the first half.
“We just really weren’t getting good looks at the basket,” said Theriot. “I just think they did a really good job of exchanging. We live off a lot of ball screens. We don’t really screen away from the ball so we were trying to overload because we felt like they were kind of in a matchup and that’s why Madelyn was getting those wide open looks.
“They shifted their matchup zone and they still didn’t go to a man (defense) and I think that’s what kind of stymied us.”
That wasn’t the case in the second half.
The Lady Pios took over in the third quarter by going on an 11-3 run in the final four minutes to take a 34-18 cushion into the fourth quarter.
Elise LeBeouf started the run with a jumper in the lane. Sam Lyons then grabbed an offensive rebound and scored as she was falling out of bounds. Gabbie Romero added a 3-pointer before LeBeouf and LeJeune each hit a bucket with time running out.
“We had some huge buckets from a couple people that stepped up in the third quarter,” said Theriot. “Badger (LeBeouf) came in there and knocked down a mid-post shot; Sam hit a shot and Gabbie hit a three…. And I think that kind of loosed them up and I think that was the turning point in the ballgame.”
The Lady Pios put the game away by going on a 15-2 run in the first six minutes of the fourth quarter.
All five starters scored in the fourth quarter with Romero and Lyons combining for 13 points.
“I figured they (Green Oaks) were going to change up their defense in the second half and they did,” said Theriot. “They were trying to match up with us more and we just had kids make plays.
“We’re really playing well right now. We had kids coming off the floor saying ‘coach, this happened and that happened right here and I think we can do this...’ It’s like having five coaches on the floor.”
LeJeune and Romero paced the Lady Pios with 17 and 16 points, respectively. Lyons pitched in 12 points, LeBeouf scored nine and Alex Miller finished with three.
The victory sends the Lady Pios to the quarterfinals for the second straight year. Notre Dame was upended by eventual state champion Rayville last season in third round.
“I knew coming into the playoffs that there were eight to 12 teams that could really play and for us to get to the final eight is a huge accomplishment,” said Theriot. “I think anything less than the quarterfinals would have been a letdown for us this year, but we are definitely not satisfied. I think if there was a monkey on our back, now it is definitely off and we can just go out there and play and just be relaxed.”