by Hunter Bower, GeauxPreps.com Owner
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It wasn’t an easy task by any stretch of the imagination. However, the Southwood Lady Cowboys are headed back to the quarterfinals of the Class 5A playoffs.
The historic basketball program, owners of 11 state championships, earned its way into the Elite Eight for the first time since 2017 despite a four-and-a-half-hour bus ride down to take on talented East St. John.
“As a coach, I keep it real with my players,” said Southwood head coach Kendrick Golatt, Sr. “So yes, right before we came out for warmups, I told them that they had a chance to do something special. That was to be the team that got Southwood girls basketball back to the Elite Eight.”
Southwood, down seven late in the second quarter, went on a 4-0 run with under two minutes remaining to cut the lead to a 25-22 score at halftime.
The Lady Cowboys used the momentum from intermission to come out and outscore the home squad 20-16 in the third quarter, all but taking control of the pace. However, East St. John rallied back and was able to hold the Lady Cowboys offense, which was enough needed to even the score and send the thriller into overtime.
With Southwood needing a boost in the extra period, Jermesha Frierson stepped up in a big way. The junior guard lit up the scoreboard in overtime, scoring 12 of her 26 total points in the extra period. Her performance helped the lady Cowboys pull away for the upset road victory, 63-53.
“I told them when people say the name Southwood, they automatically think girls basketball. So yes, we knew that being on the road it would be a tough environment,” said Golatt, Sr. “When we found ourselves down I reminded them that we play in the toughest district in the state of Louisiana and we’ve been in moments like that before. They responded like I believed they would.”
Frierson, a recent addition to the Southwood 1,000 point club, led the game in points scored while also grabbing 12 rebounds and adding a steal. In addition, Ma’Shaylen Pratt and Minnie Williams also finished in double scoring figures on the night.
The Lady Cowboys must face another giant in hopes of making the trip to Hammond for this year’s Marsh Madness championship event. No. 3 Lafayette welcomes Southwood on Thursday with tip-off set for 6 p.m.
In other action around the state:
• Lake Arthur used a 17-point game from Vivian Sketoe to blow past Bunkie in last night’s Regional game. The Lady Tigers also received double-figure scoring efforts from Alayah and Kali Hornsby.
• Caitlin Travis scored a game-high 17 points to improve No. 1 Walker’s record to 32-3 on the season with a 61-40 victory over Airline. Rayonna Sterling finished with 15 points while Lanie Miller scored 10 for the Lady Wildcats.
• Mikaylah Williams scored 20 points and added nine rebounds, six steals and five assists as the Parkway Lady Panthers defeated Zachary, 72-35, on the road.
• Despite falling to No. 2 seed Bastrop in last night’s 61-38 Regional round loss, Peabody received a double-double (10 points, 16 rebounds) from Earthly Katreal. The Lady Warhorses finished the season having won eight of their last 10 games.
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