A week ago, the Crocker Lady Lions dropped Laquey in a convincing 57-20 victory. After the contest, Laquey coach Wesley Shaw said a rematch opportunity "would be great if we could see them again."
After Tuesday night, Shaw will get that chance as both his Lady Hornets and Crocker advanced to the championship round of the Class 2, District 9 tournament.
No. 1 Crocker vs. No. 5 Vienna
In the first contest of the evening, top-seeded Crocker entered red hot against No. 5 Vienna. In the first 44 seconds of the game, Crocker enjoyed a 7-0 lead after a first possession three-point shot, and two forced turnovers that led to easy buckets.
Crocker opened the night with heavy full-court pressure, which led to several turnovers and easy points.
Vienna eventually saw itself down 15-2 in the first quarter, a deficit that increased to 29-5 at the end of the first quarter.
Crocker coach Nancy Ward said her student-athletes "came out really focused."
"We talked about what [Vienna] was going to look for in their press break and our kids did a good job of understanding the scouting report and being in attack mode."
The following three quarters worsened Vienna's pain after a 48-9 halftime deficit and a final score of 66-34.
"The kids came out ready to play and attacked the rim," Ward said. "That's something we've wanted to do all season is be the first team to get to the [bonus] in each half."
The Lady Lions finished 21-of-29 from the free throw line.
Led by three players with double figures, Crocker advanced to the championship round with ease.
"You can't really double team us because other kids step up, " Ward said. "All seven of our kids are capable of scoring and they all do it in different ways.
Scoring summary: – Lindsay Medlen, fr., 20 points; Brianna Peterson, sr., 18; Meagan Wall, sr., 12; Kelsey York, fr., 7; Jeanna Mendez, sr., 5; Kyla Connell, fr., 2; Delayne Patton, fr., 2.
No. 2 Laquey vs. No. 6 Iberia
Entering the night's late game, Laquey had a tall task ahead stopping the sizzling Iberia Lady Rangers squad, which won its previous four contests.
Struggling to find an offensive rhythm, the teams began the contest with nearly three scoreless minutes until Iberia sank the first bucket to take its only lead of the night. Unfortunately, those points awakened a sleeping monster.
Immediately following Iberia's score, Laquey ran to a 7-0 run to establish some rhythm. However, several Lady Hornets' turnovers and one-and-done offensive possessions kept Iberia alive. To combat its offensive woes, Laquey used a heavy pressure man-to-man defense to generate fast break points en route to a 14-5 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Page 2 of 3 - Laquey coach Wesley Shaw had his team focused on the game at hand.
"I thought we did a good job in the first half of executing on the defensive end and knowing where [Iberia's] shooters were," Shaw said.
Throughout the second period, Laquey used much of the same to jump out to a 17-point lead at halftime, 31-14.
But Iberia wasn't yet ready to give up.
Whatever it was Shaw said to his team, "apparently it wasn't the right thing [to say]."
The third quarter shifted momentum to favor the Lady Rangers after the team found an offensive presence in the paint by grabbing several offensive rebounds and scoring 8 second-chance points. Laquey helped Iberia maintain that momentum with more turnovers, which led to 6 fast break points.
Iberia outscored Laquey 21-11 in the third period to get to within seven, 42-35.
"In the second half, we were too relaxed," Shaw said. "We weren't focused."
That lead proved to be just enough as the Lady Hornets traded buckets with Iberia until leading another 8-0 run to push the lead to 56-41 with 3:06 remaining. Iberia never responded as Laquey enjoyed a 60-45 final – and a chance at redemption against Crocker in the district championship round.
Shaw praised junior guard Maura Skidmore for her 29-point effort.
"She's very quick, but sometimes she needs to slow down and worry about direction change instead of going full speed all the time," Shaw said.
Scoring summary: Laquey – Maura Skidmore, jr., 29 points; McKayla McCart, sr., 12; Harley Gan, jr., 9; Brittni Click, sr., 6; Danielle Graves, jr., 4.
Just a week ago, Crocker stunned Laquey, 57-20.
At 24-2, Crocker utilized its heavy pressure defense and full-court press to generate turnovers and easy points throughout the season.
"We've just got to be able to take care of the basketball against their pressure," Shaw said of Crocker.
Offensively the Lady Lions use a four-guard offensive set with either Peterson or Medlen in the paint.
"[Crocker] is a very good basketball team and they have a lot of options that can come at you," Shaw said.
Crocker often capitalize on open three-point looks after dribble drives.
"[The Lady Lions] have their eyes on certain goals that we want to meet and they're just getting into that mode," Ward said.
Laquey is currently 19-8, but is hungry for revenge in Friday night's grudge match.
The Lady Hornets' traditional three guard, two forward offense is best operated by Skidmore – a potential all state guard. The junior can find an open shooter at any time, but must limit forced passes to Graves in the paint.
Page 3 of 3 - "With Skidmore and Graves, they're a tough match-up," Ward said.
On defense Laquey must force turnovers and capitalize on fast break opportunities.
Laquey held Iberia to 38 percent from the field Tuesday, something the Lady Hornets will try and duplicate in the championship round.
That, however, will be a tall task against the sharp-shooting Lady Lions.
"They're going to be solid and play really smart basketball," Ward said of Laquey.
Neither Crocker nor Laquey has a deep bench – each have only seven total athletes.
"Neither one of us are deep, but the kids learned to play that way," Ward said. "We just adjust and go on."
During Tuesday's game against Iberia, Laquey committed several fouls, which forced key players to sit on the bench.
"We had some silly fouls tonight and kind of lost our head a few times and had some frustration fouls," Shaw said. "We can't afford to be in foul trouble, but I thought our bench did a good job in the fourth quarter."
The Class 2, District 9 championship round will take place Friday at 6 p.m. in Laquey.