Lady Jays to open playoffs against Hanson
The Lady Jays earned a playoff spot for the six straight year as No. 8 St. Edmund (14-7) will open the 2021 LHSAA Div. IV basketball playoffs on Monday against No. 9 Hanson Memorial (14-6).
St. Ed’s head coach St. Edmund head coach Erica Zaunbrecher said her team is ready for the challenge.
“Getting the North Central win was a confidence booster as well as the win over Elton earlier in the season,” the coach said. “They know what they need to do, we just need to go out there and do it.”
Six seniors – Hannah Benoit, Mary Beth Lafleur, Anna Belle Fontenot, Tanzy Miller, Rebecca Benoit and Savannah DeVillier – are looking for their third playoff win of their careers after defeating St. Fredrick and rival Sacred Heart of Ville Platte their first two seasons.
“They are students of the game,” Zaunbrecher said of her team. “If we aren’t playing so well I can go in at halftime and they can name things that aren’t working and they know what they are doing wrong and how to fix it.”
Last season, the No. 11 Lady Jays fell 56-55 in a last-second heartbreaker at No. 6 St. Martin’s Episcopal.
In 2019, the No. 16 Lady Jays opened the playoffs with a 45-32 victory over No. 17 Sacred Heart.
St. Edmund’s season ended with a 55-20 defeat to eventual state champion Lafayette Christian.
In the 2018 playoffs, No. 15 St. Edmund rolled to a 55-21 win over No. 18 St. Fredrick before losing in the regionals to No. 2 Houma Christian, 74-40.
Zaunbrecher said she is excited for her team to play at home against Hanson Memorial.
“I think we match up well,” the coach said. “They do have a couple of tall girls, so do we. They have an outside shooter, so do we.
“Our girls want to do everything to make sure we can be successful,” Zaunbrecher said. “They won’t back down.”
COVID-19 issues with other teams forced several cancellations, which Zaunbrecher said could have changed their power rankings.
“We stayed safe as a team,” the coach said. “Luckily we were healthy throughout the season.
“I am grateful we were able to have fans in the stands,” she said. “It makes a difference when the kids have their parents there cheering them on.”
With a regional round win over Hanson Memorial, the Lady Jays will take on the winner between No. 1 Ouachita Christian (25-2) and No. 16 Sacred Heart of Ville Platte (3-15).
“We were excited when we were at No. 7 so at least we would have been on the other side of the bracket (facing No. 2 Highland Baptist in the quarterfinals),” she said.
“We needed to be at five or six not to see those teams so soon.”
In other local playoff action, No. 25 Church Point (11-15) was to visit District 5-3A rival No. 8 Iota (16-7) on Friday.
In Class 1-A, No. 19 Basile (6-12) was scheduled to play at No. 14 Haynesville (8-10) on Saturday.