Lady Wildcats fall to Mt. Carmel in state championship game
Destrehan had only lost one game all season heading into championship
Mt. Carmel sophomore guard Kristen Nuss takes a rebound away from Destrehan junior center Lamitra Wells as she tussles with Mt. Carmel freshman center Lauren Bodino.
With 2:20 left on the clock the Lady Wildcats were down by nine points. Destrehan had already overcome six point deficits twice in the game to come from behind to take the lead and were hoping for a third comeback. Within the next minute Destrehan scored five unanswered points, but Mt. Carmel stifled any chance the Lady Wildcats had at taking the lead by scoring on back-to-back fast breaks and then running the clock out for the win.
Coming into the championship the Lady Wildcats had not lost since November and were 31-1 on the year while Mt. Carmel came into the game with a 29-6 record.
The matchup was the first time either school had played in a state championship game.
Head coach Angi Butler said the game came down to steals and turnovers. Mt. Carmel forced 16 turnovers from the Lady Wildcats and had eight steals, while Destrehan had only five steals and forced 13 turnovers.
Butler said the Cubs were a very fundamentally sound team who deserved the win.
“They handle the ball well, pass the ball well, they have a good perception of the court, they understand the game. They just out hustled us today, they absolutely deserve the credit,” she said.
Destrehan freshman Cara Ursin was the game’s leading scorer with 23 points and also led in rebounds with 12.
Defending Ursin was part of Mt. Carmel’s strategy late in the game. In the third quarter they began boxing her in with two defenders.
“It was detrimental to our game, especially when you take out (Ursin who) is used to scoring 17 points per game,” Butler said.
For Destrehan, Ursin was followed in scoring by junior Jasmine Morris who had 14 points and seniors Jordan Dabney and Alexis Jackson who had 10 points apiece. Jackson also reeled in 10 rebounds while Morris had nine.
Mt. Carmel was led in scoring by senior Jennifer Clark who had 22 points, including three from behind the arc. Sophomore Paige Franckiewicz added 14 points with 12 coming off three point shots of which she was four of eight on the night. Clark also led the game with three steals and was named the game's 'Outstanding Player.'
Despite the loss, Butler said that just getting to the state championship was a great accomplishment for her team.
“Playing for state is huge and I told the girls hold your heads up you are number two in state. You are one of the top teams in the sate of Louisiana and 5A is the biggest class you can get. So, win or lose, you made huge progress. You went to the last game you could get to. There is no other game we could have worked harder for than this one,” she said.
Butler also said the Lady Wildcats should be proud of turning in a historic season.
“You are one of the two left standing so hold your head up and be proud of what you have accomplished. You are 31-2, that is the best record Destrehan has ever seen,” she said.
Ursin said she sees the team being able to rebound from the loss in future seasons.
“We are a strong team. I am a freshman and we got to state my first year in high school so I know we can make it again,” she said.
Although it was the Destrehan’s first trip to the state championship game ever and only their first time beyond the first round of the playoffs in the past three years, Butler vowed that her team will be back.
“You are going to see us again and I promise you next time it will be a different ending,” she said.
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