Cedar Creek entered the Division IV playoffs as the No. 2 seed and through the first two playoff games, the Lady Cougars have looked the part.
After dismantling Hamilton Christian in their first round win, Cedar Creek (27-2) used a huge second half to run past Central Catholic 81-34 Saturday evening at the Brickhouse.
In what head coach Gene Vandenlangenberg called a total team effort, senior Sarah Adams scored 40 points in the win. It’s thought to be the most points scored in a single game since the school joined the LHSAA ranks in the last 1980s.
The game started out tight with the two teams tied 14-14 at the end of the first quarter. Then the Lady Cougars put it into another gear.
Adams scored 17 of her 40 points in the second quarter as Cedar Creek built a 35-24 halftime advantage.
“The first quarter was tied. It was a back and forth game,” said Vandenlangenberg. “They were a very athletic team. They had two good guards that were drivers, slashers. They made some shots. It looked like we had a ball game on our hands. Then in the second quarter we got some transition baskets. And Sarah got hot.”
Any chance of a comeback was doused in the third quarter. Cedar Creek outscored its Central Catholic 20-7 in the third quarter to push the lead to 55-27, and then boat-raced them in the fourth by a tune of 26-7.
“Playing at home we had a really good crowd and that gave us energy,” said Vandenlangenberg. “They inspired us. The girls played really hard, and we ran the floor. I thought in the first quarter we were a little flat. We stood around. Then we got going and once we got going, there wasn’t any stopping them.
“We had more energy in the second and third quarters. Once we picked up our energy and played a little better defense and rebounded better, we played really, really well.”
Cedar Creek will now travel to New Orleans to face No. 6 seed St. Martins Episcopal Tuesday at 4 p.m. St. Martin’s Episcopal defeated No. 11 seed Hanson Memorial 39-22 and No. 3 seed St. John’s 41-36 to advance to New Orleans.
“They are very athletic,” said Vandenlangenberg. “We saw film on them. They play hard. We have to bottle it up and bring our show to New Orleans. We have been playing really well at home. Maybe we can just consider New Orleans our new home. The girls are excited.”
The contest will be at the Alario Center.
“It’s our third consecutive year to go to the semifinals,” said Adams. “We’ve put so much effort and energy into this year and we’ve loved every minute of it. I’m just so excited for one last trip with my team. I’m ready to have fun and enjoy playing basketball in New Orleans.”
The other semifinal pits No. 1 seed Ouachita Christian against No. 5 seed Southern Lab Tuesday at 2:15 p.m.
Vandenlangenberg said the Lady Cougars will depart late this morning and will have an opportunity to practice at the Alario Center at 7 p.m. tonight in preparation for Tuesday’s game.
“We are playing together,” he said. “You see team work. We have put back-to-back great team effort together. We are playing with a lot of confidence, and we are trusting each other. We are going to be where we need to be. We are going to be where we need to be. And we are playing our roles very well.”
Tickets for Tuesday’s contest can be purchased online at https://championships.slocaltix.com.