HAMMOND – This wasn’t the way the French Settlement girls basketball team wanted to start District 10-2A play.
St. Thomas Aquinas used a solid run in the first quarter to pull away early, and the Lady Lions never fully recovered in a 63-29 loss Tuesday at STA.
“We definitely didn’t play our game,” FSHS coach Daniel Martin said after his team dropped to 17-3 overall and 0-1 in district play. “We’ve got to play better in all aspects of the game, and we know that. We’ve got a quick turnaround. We play (Catholic-Pointe Coupee on Wednesday), so hopefully we’ll bounce back.
“We know the things that we’re supposed to do. We know the things that we needed to do that game, and none of us just did a real good job of doing that. That’s not just directed to players. That’s players, coaches, everybody, and so we all share the blame when we don’t play well, but we believe we’ll fix it.”
“Sometimes a wake-up call is good for you, and I’d rather that wake-up call now than the first round of the playoffs, right?”
The trouble started early for the Lady Lions when STA (21-1, 1-0) turned turnovers into points during a 16-2 run to open the game that was capped by Jade Brumfield’s steal and layup. Brumfield finished with a game-high 19 points, with eight in the first quarter and nine in the third quarter.
“I just think that we kind of came out, low energy,” FSHS’s Dannah Martin, who finished with 17 points, said. “It’s been a while since we’ve played an uptempo game. All these games we’ve been playing, it’s been single games, quiet gyms, and I think that we came out and even though we were ready, we weren’t ready to compete. We didn’t play the game that we’ve played (earlier) this season.”
Dannah Martin connected on consecutive 3-pointers to get FSHS within 16-8 before STA closed the first quarter on an 8-2 run that ended on Lilli Maggio’s 3-pointer, giving the Lady Falcons a 24-10 lead at the end of the first quarter. Maggio had 15 points.
“I think that we responded to the 16-2 (run),” Dannah Martin said. “We missed some rotations on defense. We didn’t close out fast enough, which has been a recurring thing for us, which is something that we’ve been working on, and so we just didn’t carry it out tonight.”
Serenity Smith, who finished with seven points, scored all of the FSHS points in a 6-2 burst that cut the lead to 26-16 with 4:25 to play before halftime. From there, the teams went scoreless before a pair of free throws by Jaylyn James keyed a 4-1 burst to close out the first half, giving STA a 30-17 lead.
James finished with 16 points.
Dannah Martin connected on a 3-pointer to open the second half, but St. Thomas worked the boards while frequently limiting the Lady Lions to one shot, helping key a 15-0 run that put the Lady Falcons ahead 45-20 with just over three minutes to play in the third quarter.
“The shots didn’t fall for us this game, but we’ll take them again next game, because how many times has that been the shot that fell for us?” Daniel Martin asked.
“They controlled the tempo, and so because the tempo was in their favor, the momentum was in their favor. If we want to win a game and control the momentum of a game like that, we’ve got to be able to control the tempo and play at our pace, execute our offense, execute the things we need to do. We just didn’t do that.”
Dannah Martin’s inside basket stopped the scoreless drought, but STA went into the fourth quarter leading 55-22.
“Whenever you would dribble away, they would come and trap in the corner, so it was really hard to find that open player, even though there was one,” Dannah Martin said. “I felt like we did at times find the gaps. We just kind of freaked out whenever we had the pressure, which isn’t something that we see a lot in practice. It’s not something that you can replicate without playing against guys our playing against teams of that caliber in practice. It’s just something we’re not used to.”
STA extended the lead to 62-24 before Dannah Martin scored four points during a 5-1 burst to close out the game.
“I think that this loss is kind of a wake-up call for us, like, ‘Hey, let’s get going.’ This is the end of our season, and for a lot of us, the end of our senior seasons,” Dannah Martin said. “Let’s get going. Let’s get playing, and I think that we’ll take it and learn from it, and we’ll apply it to the rest of district. We’ve got another shot at them, and we’re going to take it.”