WALKER -- It wasn’t the easiest game for Albany’s girls basketball team, but once coach Stacy Darouse had her team get back to basics, everything fell into place in Thursday’s game against Donaldsonville.
The Lady Hornets (3-4) trailed at halftime but used a solid run in the third quarter to pull away for a 58-38 win at Walker as part of the Brusly Tournament.
“I told them that no matter how bad you are on offense, which we were clearly bad in the first half on offense, if you play good defense and rebound, it masks that, and you can make up for that,” Darouse said. “Our defense was not at the level and the intensity that it needed to be against a team like Donaldsonville, who was in the Elite 8 last year. They took a butt chewing in a timeout. They took a butt chewing at halftime, and they responded to that.”
Donaldsonville led 25-23 at halftime, but Aubrey Hoyt scored the first five points of the second half as Albany opened with an 8-0 run, working the boards while limiting Donaldsonville’s shots on goal.
“I know especially for me, I was struggling to finish, which I have in the last couple of games,” said Hoyt, who finished with 22 points. “Obviously, I’ve been frustrated with myself about that, so I’ve been trying to work on that. We fixed our defense, and like Coach Stacy said, defense creates offense, so as we fixed that in the second half, we got the buckets we needed.”
Donaldsonville stopped the run with a pair of free throws with 3:24 left in the third quarter, but the Lady Hornets stretched the lead to 37-29 going into the fourth quarter.
Hoyt scored the first two baskets of the fourth quarter before Donaldsonville hit a 3-pointer, making the score 41-32.
Albany’s Brilee Ford had consecutive baskets during an 8-0 run that extended the lead to 49-32, and Emma Rogers had two buckets during a run that extended the lead to five8-3five before Donaldsonville closed with a 3-0 burst.
Donaldsonville jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead and pulled ahead 1six-7 before Izzy Berlier’s free throws cut the lead to 1six-9 heading into the second quarter.
“We gave up a bucket off the tip, and threw it in, turned it over and gave up a layup, so it was 4-0 20 seconds into the game, and about two minutes after that, I think it was about 9-2,” Darouse said. “Five or six minutes into the quarter, we had struggled mightily shooting the basketball, and we were only two baskets down,” Darouse said. “It’s all about defense and rebounding all the time, defense and rebounding. I tell them all the time, it doesn’t matter how bad you are on offense, if you give me effort and you play good defense rebound, good things are going to happen because we’re not fast, we’re not big, we’re not great shooters, so we have to be really good at something, and defense and rebounding are what we try to be good at.”
Donaldsonville led 22-11 before Albany began to chip away, with Hoyt’s basket keying a 9-0 burst which cut the lead to 22-20.
Emma Fuller added 10 points for Albany as nine players scored.
“I think we’re really just worried about getting the ball to the people that need it to score to win the game,” Hoyt said of getting so many people involved in the team’s scoring.
Darouse’s team doesn’t have any seniors this season, and she said the Lady Hornets don’t have a set starting lineup.
“I tell them all the time, ‘If I don’t care who starts, why should you?’, so they’re OK with us mixing around,” Darouse said. “We change according to who we’re playing …, so we’re used to that.
“All these kids came off the bench last year,” Darouse continued. “They played, but they weren’t in a position where they had to handle the ball. We had Haley (Meyers) for that. They weren’t in a position where they had to rebound. Cassie (Baygents) did that, so we’re still trying to find our roles a little bit, and I feel like we’re a bit like a box a chocolates right now. I think I’m not the only one in the parish feeling like that. You probably heard that in the parish tournament seeding Tuesday. The parish is young across the board …”
“We’re growing up, but games like this help you grow up.”