Highland falls short, still can win district title

Highland Baptist’s Jasey Roy dribbles the ball down the court during Tuesday’s game against Vermilion Catholic. The Lady Bears fell short against the Lady Eagles, falling 56-49 as the two teams are tied atop the District 8-A standings with one game left.

The Highland Baptist Lady Bears had a chance Tuesday night to do something that hadn’t been done in girls basketball history — clinch the outright District 8-A title with a win over Vermilion Catholic.

Since Highland won the first meeting and hadn’t lost a district game all season, it seemed like a pretty good bet that the Lady Bears would be celebrating a historical first.

Only somebody forgot to tell the Lady Eagles what the plan was.

Vermilion Catholic, with nothing to lose according to long-time head coach Kim Guidry, came out and outplayed, out hustled, out rebounded and out shot HBCS. And while Highland rallied in the fourth quarter, twice cutting the deficit to five points, the Lady Bears just couldn’t quite finish off the comeback and fell 56-49 to the Lady Eagles Monday, leaving both teams tied for the district lead with one game left in the regular season.

“All credit to Vermilion Catholic,” HBCS girls coach Carole Sensley said. “They outplayed us and we didn’t play well tonight.

“They just outplayed us.”

With the loss, Highland falls to 24-4 overall and 8-1 in district and sees its 13 winning streak come to an end.

VC improves to 15-16, 8-1. The two teams close out the regular season Friday night as HBCS plays host to Hanson and VC  travels to Centerville.

If the two teams each win, there will be a tie for the district title and both teams will be co-champions. If either VC or Highland lose and the other team wins, then either VC or Highland will be the outright district champions. If both teams lose, then both will be co-champions of the district.

“Our kids played hard tonight,” Guidry said. “We knew Highland was the front runner. We knew they were fifth in state, we’re eight, and I told the girls that we had nothing to lose.

“We beat CC (Central Catholic) at their place and we didn’t move up the power rankings. We’re probably not going to move so I told the kids just go play hard and try a freak defense and it worked for us.”

Kyra Brailey had 23 points and Kelli Frith added 21 as VC jumped out to a 13-9 first quarter lead and extended it to 26-16 at halftime.

Highland cut into the lead in the third quarter and trailed 36-33 headed into the fourth quarter but VC outscored HBCS 22-16 in the final quarter to preserve the win and the chance to get at least a share of the district title.

Guidry also told her players basically the law of averages was on their side

“When they came to our place, they shot at least 75 percent on the night,” Guidry said. “I told the girls that they can’t shoot that good again, it’s high school, just keep working. And it worked for us.”

Highland was led by Marin Barras with 15 points and Jasey Roy added 12.

“VC knocked down shots and we didn’t play well tonight,” Sensley said. “We missed open shots, we missed free throws. We didn’t finish.”

Sensley said that regardless of what the scenario is, her team is going to concentrate on one game at a time.

“We wanted to get this one but we didn’t,” the HBCS coach said. “We’re going to go back to fundamentals, get better and focus on the next game, which is Hanson on Friday.”

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