Lady Bearcats shut down Pineville

By T. Scott Boatright

If there’s any truth to the saying “defense wins championships,” the Ruston High School Lady Bearcats showed they’ll be a force to be reckoned with once postseason play rolls around in a couple of weeks.

The Lady Bearcats shut out Pineville in the opening stanza Tuesday night and roared their way to a 57-9 over the Lady Rebels at the RHS Main Gym.

Ruston dominated from start to finish, leading 22-0 at the end of the first quarter, 36-4 at halftime and 48-7 by the end of the third quarter.

Along the way, 13 of the 14 Lady Bearcats added to their scoring total, something that RHS coach Meredith Graf liked seeing at this point in the season.

Ruston now stands at 22-6 and 5-0 in District 2-5A and entered the game ranked No. 5 in’s Class 5A girls hoops power ratings.

“Tonight was a great night for us all to share the load and give some people some opportunities to prove what they can do and get their feet wet,” Graf said. “As any good coach knows, you’re always trying to work in opportunities for younger players to develop for the next year and tonight was one of those really good opportunities that we were fortunate enough to have and were able to do.”

Ruston’s Cassandra Evans, the Lady Bearcats’ scoring leader, hit for as many points as the Lady Rebels did as a team with nine.

Building the big lead quickly allowed Graf to take a different coaching approach to the game with only three games left on the regular-season schedule — a home game against Ouachita on Friday, a road game at West Monroe on Tuesday and a home game against West Ouachita on Feb. 11.

“For us tonight was very much about working on the little things we need to clean up and continue to prepare for the next game and the playoffs,” Graf said. “You can’t afford to take a night off and get out of rhythm and out of shape, so tonight for us was basically about goals within our team that we were trying to accomplish to keep us sharp. 

“We were just trying to focus on ourselves and clean up some areas we thought we needed to work on and some things we might see moving forward.”

Jaliyah McWain and Zaccheya Jackson added eight points each for Ruston, which also got six from Kemiah Spencer, five apiece from Skylaar Spencer and Alexis Foster, and four each from Mariah Hintze and Emerald Parker.


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