LIVINGSTON -- It wasn’t the start that Doyle girls’ coach Samantha White had hoped for, but the end result was just what she wanted.

Now it’s on to the next round.

Mixing efficient offense with hounding defense, the Lady Tigers shrugged off a shaky start and blew open their first-round matchup with Bunkie en route to a dominant 78-41 victory Thursday night.

No. 7 seed Doyle (25-9) moves on to a second-round matchup Monday against No. 10 Jonesboro-Hodge, which opened postseason play with a 66-41 win over West St. John.

All 14 Lady Tigers who played on Thursday scored, led by Madison Watts’ game-high 19 points. Jessica Nesom and Zoey Jacob chipped in 14 and 12 points, respectively, as Doyle shook off a 5-for-20 shooting performance in the second quarter to collect its 14th consecutive victory.

Quantisha Seaberry (18) and De’Sherrica Pierite (12) were responsible for the bulk of Bunkie’s 41 points, which came as a result of a rough 21.7% shooting night from the floor (10-for-46). The Lady Panthers also turned the ball over 24 times while their bench was outscored 34-4.

“In the beginning we were flat,” Nesom said. “We thought it would be easier, so we didn’t come out like we should’ve. But we finally started getting our groove on.”

The Lady Tigers shot 44.4% from the field (32-for-72), but that was weighed heavily down by that forgetful 25% second quarter. Doyle made18 of its 34 field goals after halftime, most of them coming in the paint, as the Lady Tigers cruised to another 20-plus point victory, their eighth in the last 11 games.

As is usually the case, it was the Lady Tigers’ defense that jolted them out of their early funk. Doyle scored 15 points on 15 first-half turnovers by Bunkie (5-24), which briefly led 3-2 before the Tigers ripped off a 12-0 run.

The Lady Panthers sliced a 13-point deficit to nine by the end of the first quarter, but they lost their way in the second, getting only three points from the free-throw line as turnovers and missed shots piled up.

Despite an inefficient second quarter, Doyle was able to outscore Bunkie 16-3, with 13 of those points coming off of turnovers or offensive rebounds. The Lady Tigers led 35-13 at halftime and extended that lead to 30 entering the fourth quarter. They were up by as much as 38 in the fourth as the bench outscored Bunkie’s starters 20-13.

The start may not have been what she wanted, but White was nonetheless pleased with the final outcome, which was never in doubt once Doyle kicked it up defensively.

“That’s what we like to do,” White said. “We came out a little flat, maybe because we haven’t played in a week, I don’t know, but we had to turn it around.”

After a satisfying first-round victory, things are bound to get tougher for the Lady Tigers when they resume postseason play against Jonesboro-Hodge on Monday. The second round is where Doyle’s playoff run ended last season, when it fell to district foe St. Thomas Aquinas.

But the Lady Tigers believe they have what it takes to go further this season.

“That’s our next goal,” Watts said. “One game at a time.”

DOYLE 78, BUNKIE 41

Bunkie              10     3   15   13  --  41

Doyle                19   16   23   20  --  78

Bunkie (48) -- Quantisha Seaberry 4-15 7-10 18, De’Sherrica Pierite 2-9 7-9 12, Kiara Leslie 1-5 1-2 4, Amanda Davis 2-4 0-3 4, Keontra Guient 1-2 1-2 3, Johnnice Mingo 0-3 0-0 0, Emani Allen 0-5 0-0 0, De’Neshia Pierite 0-3 0-0 0, Tamara McGhee 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 10-46 16-26 41.

Doyle (78) -- Madison Watts 6-11 6-7 19, Jessica Nesom 5-14 4-9 14, Zoey Jacob 6-8 0-0 12, Elise Jones 3-9 1-1 7, Lauren Simms 3-7 0-0 6, Kylie Merrel 2-3 0-0 4, Grace Wolfe 1-4 0-1 2, Morgan Blades 1-1 0-0 2, Meghan Watson 1-5 0-0 2, Sydney Taylor 0-3 2-2 2, Kourtlyn Lacey 1-2 0-0 2, Amber Smith 1-2 0-0 2, Alessa Clark 1-1 0-0 2, Claire Glascock 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 32-72 13-20 78.

3-point goals -- Bunkie 5-26 (Seaberry 3-12, Leslie 1-2, De’Sherrica Pierite 1-4, Mingo 0-3, Allen 0-4, De’Neshia Pierite 0-1); Doyle 1-6 (Watts 1-2, Wolfe 0-1, Nesom 0-1, Simms 0-2). Records: Doyle 25-9, Bunkie 5-24. Next up: Jonesboro-Hodge at Doyle, time TBD Monday.

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