The No. 3-seeded Lady Pios rotated in nine players, mainly due to foul trouble, and got 22 points from their bench to claim a surprisingly easy 64-41 victory over No. 19 Madison in second-round action of the Class AAA state playoffs.
The victory sends the Lady Pios to the quarterfinal round where they will entertain No. 6 Baker Thursday at Midland High School.
“We really came out and got after them early on,” said Notre Dame coach Nolan Theriot, whose squad improved to 29-3 with the victory. “We pushed the ball a lot offensively and got a lot of easy buckets and those buckets got easier as the game went on.”
Notre Dame’s defensive pressure caused Madison problems from the beginning and resulted numerous points in transition as the Lady Pios took a 9-2 advantage just three minutes into the contest.
However, that defensive pressure also caused the Lady Pios some trouble of their own. With two minutes remaining in the first quarter, starters Marie Ledet, Alex Miller and Taylor Simon had each picked up their second fouls.
The Lady Pios were still able to build a 20-13 advantage after the first frame.
Ledet then picked up her third foul early in the second quarter was sidelined along with Simon.
Not to worry, though.
In stepped Mary Charles and freshman Gabbie Romero and the Lady Pios didn’t miss a beat.
Charles filled the void at forward and posted seven of her 13 points in the second quarter while Romero ran the offense and scored two points.
“I thought Mary and Gabbie played great tonight,” said Theriot. “I thought we even pulled away a little bit when they were in the game.
“I was a little worried though. In pregame, my little freshman (Romero) was all big eyed. I never saw her like that. But we had to put her out there and she played well. That’s a tribute to her and to the rest of the girls to make her feel okay. She may not have scored much, but she did a great job of running the offense.”
The Lady Pios went on to take a 37-24 lead at the break.
Both teams traded baskets in the third quarter, but the Lady Pios blew the game open in the first four minutes of the final frame by going on an 11-4 run to take a 60-40 advantage.
The final four minutes were less than eventful with Notre Dame outscoring Madison 4-1.
Kylie Pannell did most of the damage in the final eight minutes, scoring eight of her game-high 20 points in the final quarter. The senior forward also pulled down 15 of the Lady Pios’ 46 rebounds on the night. She also had two assists and one steal.
“Kylie was all over the place,” said Theriot. “She had a great night. I mean, she was knocking down everything she shot. And she looked like she could still go even when the game was over.”
In all, Notre Dame got production from all nine players that touched the court.
Simon followed Pannell and Charles with nine points. She also had four rebounds, two assists and two steals.
Ledet followed with seven points and Lexie Trosclair added five points and six rebounds. Mallory Chiasson had four points to go along with five rebounds and two assists.
Also contributing were Romero (two points, three assists), Payton Miller (two points, two rebounds, two assists) and Alex Miller (two points, five rebounds, two assists.”
“We had a lot of points coming from a bunch of different areas,” said Theriot. “The girls are really confident in what they can do. For us to go on the road four and a half hours and shoot the ball as well as we did...they were confident. I don’t think we ever looked like we didn’t know that we could win the ballgame.
“I tell you what, whoever we play next, they’re definitely going to get Pio Pride for 32 minutes.”