LIVINGSTON – The style of play that propelled the Doyle girls basketball team to the No. 1 seed in the Class 2A playoff bracket never materialized in Thursday’s quarterfinal game against Rayville.
In turn, the spelled the end of the Lady Tigers’ season.
No. 8 Rayville’s Tykira Fuller scored 32 points and the Lady Hornets pulled away late at the free throw line in a 69-62 victory at Doyle Elementary School.
“We never got into our flow, that’s for sure,” Doyle coach Sam White said after her team finished the season 29-5. “It’s not how we wanted it to go. We played how they wanted to play, and obviously the result of that was not what we wanted.
“It’s a bad night to have a bad game.”
Rayville (23-12) led 49-46 heading into the fourth quarter before a pair of baskets by Doyle’s Presleigh Scott got the Lady Tigers within two points twice – the last at 53-51 – before Fuller’s basket pushed the lead to 55-51.
From there, Scott hit another basket, and Sydney Taylor’s jumper after Rayville threw the ball away on an in-bounds pass tied the score at 55-55. Scott’s layup put Doyle ahead 57-55.
Rayville tied the game at 57-57 before Kourtlyn Lacey’s 3-pointer put Doyle ahead 60-57 with 3:27 to play. Rayville cut the lead to 60-59, and Doyle appeared to pad the lead on a basket by Elise Jones that was waved off because of a traveling call.
“That was pivotal,” White said of the call. “It was a game-changing thing, and it did. It changed it for the worst.”
Jones finished with nine points, Lacy had eight and Meghan Watson had six points, 17 rebounds and five blocks.
Rayville went 6-for-7 at the line to go ahead 65-60, while Doyle went 0-for-3 in the same stretch. Doyle missed a pair of shots, and the Lady Hornets pulled down the rebound both times while going 4-for-6 from the stripe during a 4-2 burst to close out the game.
Taylor, Watson and Lacey fouled out as the Lady Tigers went 9-for-19 from the free-throw line. Rayville went 19-for-34.
Doyle jumped out to a 13-7 lead on Scott’s three-point play, but Rayville started a trend for the night as Fuller and company worked the boards as the Lady Tigers struggled from the floor.
“We gave them so many second shots, it is ridiculous,” White said. “(Fuller) was an animal. She did a great job, and we never bodied her up. We never blocked her out. We let her kind of have our will. I told them in the locker room … I really believe rebounding cost us this game, and it’ll never do that again because we’re going to make sure we get better at that.”
Fuller’s basket tied the game at 13, and the game was tied at 17 at the end of the first quarter.
“We were very, very stagnant offensively,” White said. “We could not get anything going, and some of that stems from us not being able to get anything defensively to kind of transition into our offense. I wanted to be a lot more aggressive. We just weren’t.”
The second quarter featured seven lead changes and three ties before Rayville emerged with a 34-33 at halftime.
“We just never really got in our pace and groove,” said Scott, who finished with 29 points, including 10 in the fourth quarter. “I felt like we could have just gone much harder on our offense and defense and rebounded and blocked out so much better.”
Rayville continued to work the boards while preventing Doyle from scoring in its transition game, which it did relatively easily during the course of the season.
“We wanted to push in transition,” White said. “That was talked about. We talk about it all the time. Two big things we knew we had to do was block them out, which we did not, and move the ball in transition which we did not. I’m not happy with either one of those things, to be honest with you. I wish we could have played our transition game more. I think that would have definitely spun the game in our favor, however, for whatever reason, we just could not seem to get it going.”
Neither team grabbed an advantage in the third quarter, which had three ties and five lead changes before Rayville’s Jalexis Kelly, who finished with 17 points, connected on a 3-pointer, sparking a 7-0 burst which put the Lady Hornets up 49-42 before Scott’s steal and layup set up the fourth quarter.
Although the season is over for the Lady Tigers, White said she’s pleased with the team’s accomplishments.
“I am proud of them for what they accomplished,” White said. “We came into this season expecting a lot. To have the No. 1 seed, to win so many games and have so little losses … it was a very good surprise. It kind of showed me what they were capable of doing.”
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