With a spot in the Sweet 16 waiting for the winner, Destrehan Lady Wildcats and Hahnville's Lady Tigers met in the quarterfinal match at Hahnville last Thursday night.
Meeting for the fourth time this season the two teams battled hard before an experienced Wildcat squad and utilized physical stamina and mental toughness to grind out an 84-69 victory.
Unlike the other three wins by DHS this game had an electric atmosphere with both teams at times playing tough defense and hitting clutch shots. However, in the end, Destrehan had an answer for every Hahnville run as the Wildcats relied on the mental durability Coach Ulysses Frontha had instilled in them since the beginning of pre-season practice.
Destrehan's four starters with Sweet 16 experience-twins Shanna and Shunna Richard and Schamayne Moses from DHS's 2003 team and Candice McGee, who won a championship with Cabrini High School in 2003, slowed the game with defensive pressure and rebounding.
But, the offense was led by freshman Tawanna Lee. She drove to the basket making several layups as well as converting 14 free throws to lead all scorers with 32 points.
“He told me to drive it, this is your opportunity,” said Lee, whose grandfather was in the stands watching her outstanding effort.
“This was one of our goals to get to the Sweet 16,” said McGee. The Lady Wildcats were a tired team at halftime. “We were tired, but we had to believe in coach,” said Moses.
The confidence in the coach's words showed as all five starters scored in double figures, but DHS' experience was the exclamation point to the victory. In the final quarter the Lady Wildcats ran a slow deliberate offense taking time off the clock and moving to the basket for easy shots or fouls by the young Hahnville team.
Destrehan improved its record to 24-7 while the Lady Tigers finish their season at 19-17.
With the win Coach Frontha's team advances to Sweet 16 tournament and a semifinal match with Southwood High School tonight at 8. The winners will meet the winner of Denham Springs-Airline game in Saturday's 5A championship