One comfortable win was expected for the home team Tuesday night at Ruston High School, but two against Pineville was twice as nice.
Ruston registered an eyebrow-raising 57-20 blowout in the girls game and took the boys contest 68-30.
In other parish prep action, Simboro’s powerful boys team scored a vital road win at Quitman, 82-64, taking control of the District 2-B standings. Choudrant swept its 2-B doubleheader at Weston.
The Ruston girls (19-6 overall, 5-1 in District 2-5A) anticipated a tough battle against the Lady Rebels after outscrapping them 61-56 on the road Jan. 12, but it did not materialize in the rematch. In fairness, said RHS coach Meredith Graf, Pineville was without its best player and two other mainstays.
“So we better have won,” she said. They did, setting the stage for a Friday night showdown at home against Ouachita.
Ruston rolled to a 24-6 halftime stranglehold, outscoring Pineville 12-3 in each of the first two quarters. The overwhelmed visitors had no chance afterward.
“Tonight does not reflect who Pineville is, but I was proud of how focused my girls were. They came in ready,” said Graf. “It’s rare to get in-game opportunities this time of year where you can work on different aspects of your game.
“I’m glad we got to do that and hope it helps as we finish our difficult district play.”
The Bearcat boys (15-4, 3-3) had already cruised past Pineville in the first meeting. After an 11-all first quarter stalemate, Ruston opened a 26-16 halftime lead by outscoring the Rebels 15-5 in the second quarter. That paled in comparison to a 27-2 fourth-quarter finish.
Josh Dean led the parade by draining seven 3-pointers and a free throw in a 22-point outing that was the only double-digit scoring total for the winners. Seven others scored, topped by Markel Jones with nine.
“We came out a little sluggish,” said coach Ryan Bond. “Josh got some clean looks against their 2-3 zone and knocked them down. Our bigs posted hard and drew in the defense.”
One of the bigs, 6-7 senior Rollin Belton, will sign a Division I scholarship Wednesday with the Marist Red Foxes. He scored seven points Tuesday but made his presence felt at both ends.
Now the Bearcats can fully focus on Friday night’s huge home game against Ouachita. Bond knows what his team needs to do to succeed.
“Give tremendous effort and match their physicality. Take care of the ball, considering we had 25 turnovers the first time we played them.”
The big girls clash Friday tips at 5:30 with the boys going at 7 o’clock at RHS. Capacity, 400 in these Covid-19 times, could be reached for the second time this season, so fans are encouraged to arrive sooner than later.
Simsboro (18-1, 3-0) won its 11th straight boys game as the visiting TIgers ended a 10-game streak by the Wolverines (15-4, 2-1). The 20-2 Quitman girls (3-0 in district) topped the Lady Tigers (8-7, 2-1) by 10, 54-44.
In another District 2-B twinbill, Choudrant’s girls (13-10, 1-2) walked over Weston 62-50, riding a 23-4 first-period eruption. Katie Wiley scored 21, Aly Thomas 18 (with five 3s) and Kylee Portilloz 17 for the winners.
In the boys battle near Caney Lake, Choudrant completed the sweep 57-51, opening a 26-17 halftime advantage. Sammy Smith poured in 18 points and Trey Harris 11 for the Aggies (12-9, 1-2).
Photo: Ruston High School