Lady Bearcats pull away late to top OPHS

Ruston’s Jaliyah McWain goes up for two of her team-best 16 points Friday night against Ouachita. (Photo by T. Scott Boatright)

By T. Scott Boatright


In a tight game from start to finish, the Ruston Lady Bearcats saved their best for last Friday night against Ouachita Parish High School at the RHS Main Gym.

Leading 32-29 heading into the final stanza, the Lady Bearcats outscored Ouachita 16-12 over the final eight to escape with their second District 2-5A win of the season.

“I’m very proud of how our team competed tonight,” Bearcat head coach Meredith Graf said. “The first half we were not playing together the way we know how, and that was our biggest adjustment at half time. We continued to play hard and trusted each other to do their job which ultimately gave us the edge we needed to sneak past a very good Ouachita team. We will continue to work to get better every game and take each game as it comes.”

The game was tied 8-8 at the end of the first quarter, but a putback by Ruston’s  Aakeyliah Jones with 39 seconds left in the second sent the Lady Bearcats into the locker rooms at intermission holding a 21-20 advantage.

A three-point play on a layup plus free throw with 1:13 remaining in the third quarter gave the Lady Bearcats a 32-29 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

The teams traded buckets until the final minute, with Ruston’s Jaliya McWain sinking a layup to put the Lady Bearcats on top 44-40.

Ruston took over in the final minute, with McWain’s layup with 14 seconds left on the clock accounting for the game’s final points.

McWain led the Lady Bearcats with 16 points and nine rebounds while Jones added nine points and five boards.

Ruston (7-6 overall and 2-0 in District 2-5A) will next play at Pineville (6-15, 0-3) on Tuesday.