Close games have been few and far between for Cedar Creek’s girls basketball team this season.
Smack dab in the middle of one in a do-or-cry situation Thursday night, they looked right at home.
The Lady Cougars outscored visiting St. John’s by 10 after halftime, turning a three-point deficit into a 43-36 triumph at the Brick House and earning a trip (or two) to Hammond for Marsh Madness next week.
Cedar Creek (20-3), the third seed in the LHSAA’s Division IV bracket, will play a state semifinal game against No. 2 Highland Baptist Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday at the University Center in Hammond. In the other semifinal: top-seeded Ouachita Christian, the Lady Cougars’ district rival, and No. 4 St. Martin’s Episcopal.
Highland Baptist ran away from Opelousas Catholic 51-27 Thursday night.
Lincoln Parish nearly had two teams headed to Hammond. The upstart Lincoln Prep Lady Panthers belied their No. 12 seeding and barely missed stunning fourth-seeded North Central, falling 51-47.
First round LHSAA boys playoffs begin tonight involving all the parish teams, although Simsboro has the night off with a bye. Choudrant is at home while Ruston, Lincoln Prep and the Cedar Creek boys all head deep into south Louisiana for their postseason openers.
The Cedar Creek girls squad clinched its second straight state semifinal berth. But unlike last year, when the tournament was held at home sites instead of semifinalists advancing to an actual state tournament venue, this time the Final Four will be on the same stage in each bracket during an exciting week of hoops happiness in Hammond.
That trip was very much in doubt until the closing moments of Thursday’s battle at the Brick House.
St. John pumped in a trio of 3-pointers in the opening quarter while moving up 14-8. The Lady Cougars began to rally as Sarah Adams scored eight of her team’s 10 second-quarter points, closing the gap to 21-18 at the half.
The tables turned in the next eight minutes. Creek held the visitors to one 3-pointer, riding an 11-3 run into the lead for good, 29-24 going to the fourth. St. John’s could not overcome the deficit.
Adams, the game’s top scorer with 22, went 4-for-4 on the free throw line in the last period to salt away the outcome. Allie Furr added 10 points, all after halftime. She and Adams scored 20 of Cedar Creek’s 25 in the final two quarters.
BOYS: Ruston, No. 19 in the Class 5A bracket, visits 14th-seeded East St. John.
Lincoln Prep, also 19th, goes to No. 14 East Iberville in Class A.
Choudrant, 14th in Class B, hosts Converse at 6 tonight.
Cedar Creek, 16th in Division IV, drew No. 1 Crescent City in New Orleans.
Simsboro, seeded second in Class B, has a bye and will play its second-round game next week.
BASEBALL: After a tough start, getting no-hit by lefty Hayden Toal of Tioga Tuesday in a 12-0 loss, the Bearcats broke out the big sticks less than 24 hours later and pounded Calvary Baptist 20-1 in Bossier City. Dryson Fields had six RBI with a home run and a pair of singles. His home run was part of a 10-run third inning by the Bearcats, along with a round-tripper by Jack Whitaker.
Ruston plays in the North DeSoto tournament beginning today through Sunday in Stonewall. The Cats host Airline Tuesday.
Cedar Creek had a smashing start Wednesday, walloping Jonesboro-Hodge 19-1 on the road. Cage Shepherd had three hits and five RBI for the Cougars, whose 11-run fourth inning sealed the deal after a five-run second put them in charge.
Coach Ben Haddox’s club goes for a U.S. 167 South sweep Tuesday when it visits Winnfield at 6.
SOFTBALL: The Lady Bearcats rolled 13-1 over Winnfield Tuesday night, outhitting the visitors 13-3. Ruston went to Haughton Thursday night, and will play in a tournament beginning today at the Sterlington Sports Complex. The Lady Bearcats play at 3 p.m. today, also at 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. Saturday.
Cedar Creek celebration video and photo courtesy CCHS and Christy Mabou