MAUREPAS –Tiara Young scored 41 points for Walker in its win over Doyle in the Livingston Parish Tournament on Friday, but sticking with a recurring theme, Lady Cats coach Hannah Jones is focused on the bigger picture.
“It’s awesome to watch,” Jones said of Young after Walker book-ended a pair of nice runs to pull away for a 62-47 win over the Lady Tigers. “She understands the game … but it’s not just her scoring. It’s getting other people in certain areas, and it’s bringing the team chemistry together. They’re feeding off of it … so it helps us go in the right direction, because we can’t just look at this game. We’ve got to look toward district.”
The win put Walker into the championship game against Denham Springs at 6 p.m. Saturday. Doyle will play in Saturday’s third-place game against Albany at 3 p.m.
“We did not have the best game. Simple as that. We didn’t have a very good game, they’re a very good team,” Doyle coach Sam White said. “You cannot match those two up and expect to do anything positive. They have a really good player. She can play. Wow! And we did not take care of the ball.”
Doyle (7-2) cut the lead to 46-40 on Elise Jones’ layup with 6:24 to play, and Young hit a free throw. Things changed for the Lady Tigers when they missed four straight shots under the basket.
“We gave ourselves a shot,” White said. “When you miss easy shots like that, it just deflates you. It’s frustrating and definitely would have changed the game if we could have hit on one of those.”
That helped fuel a 9-0 burst, capped by Delaney Anderson’s transition layup, which stretched the lead to 55-40, essentially putting the game away.
“After the third quarter, they talked about (how) we had to fight and dig in, so that’s what we did,” Young said after scoring 16 points in the second half – eight each in the second and third quarters.
Jones praised her team for weathering Doyle’s comeback attempt.
“They (Doyle) came back fighting, and we have to learn to answer them -- not answer them when they come back (to) six points, but we’ve got to learn to answer a litter sooner,” Jones said. “But I’m very proud. They (Walker) fought the whole game. They could have (given up) the lead, but they didn’t. They kept pushing an kept fighting.”
Walker (12-0) led 32-23 at halftime, but Doyle’s Presleigh Scott and Sydney Taylor hit consecutive 3-pointers to cut the lead to 34-29.
Young then went on a 5-0 run, and her 3-pointer pushed the lead to 39-29 before the Lady Cats went into the fourth quarter with a 42-35 lead.
Doyle cut the lead to 42-37 before the teams started trading baskets.
Scott led Doyle with 14 points, while Meghan Watson added 11 points and Jones scored 10.
Asia Garner added 10 points for Walker.
Walker got rolling early as Doyle turnovers sparked a 7-0 run to start the game. Presleigh Scott’s 3-pointer got Doyle on the board, and the Lady Tigers got as close as 7-6 on Scott’s layup, but Young’s putback ignited a 12-2 run to close out the first quarter, putting Walker up 19-8.
“Coach talks about (how) we have to defend a lot,” said Young, who scored 12 points in the first quarter. “When we miss a rotation or something and they score, we just have to answer back and then turn around and get a stop.”
Doyle started to cut into the lead in the second quarter, but Young continued her torrid pace, scoring all of Walker’s 13 points in the second quarter as the Lady Cats led 32-23 at halftime.
“She’s so good,” White said of Young. “I mean, really the best we’ve played. Even with that, had we not turned the ball over ourselves so much, it probably still would have been a game. We needed to handle the ball better and do a better job defending her, which is easier said than done. That was the game plan.”