But the Lady Dogs started to come together to start the tournament with back-to-back victories over DeRidder and Midland and on Wednesday, all the pieces finally came together.
The Lady Dogs used a staggering defense and connected on 10 3-pointers on offense in their most complete effort to date to cruise past last year’s Class 3A state semifinalist Notre Dame, 61-23, in the featured game of the annual tournament’s girls’ bracket.
“We came out with a lot of intensity today,” said Iota coach Stan Baggett. “With this group here, they come out flat sometimes and we fall behind early in the game. (But) they came out with a lot of fire today and it was good to see that intensity.”
The loss was Notre Dame’s sixth in their last eight games, dropping the Lady Pios fell to 9-7 on the year.
“We’re just not jelling right now,” said Notre Dame coach Nolan Theriot, whose squad committed 24 turnovers against the Lady Dogs. “I don’t know if we’re taking steps backwards, but we’re trying to find five that can get on the floor and play.
“It’s not like we’re super guard oriented, but you would think we could handle the ball a lot better. But we’re not handling the basketball; we’re getting rid of the ball before the trap even comes, which is part of the reason we’re turning it over.”
Iota’s ferocious defense took its toll on Notre Dame early and often.
Notre Dame’s Mallory Chiasson hit a 3-pointer to start the game, giving the Lady Pios their only lead of the contest.
From there, Iota forced 11 turnovers and went on a 16-2 run behind 12 points from Allison Baggett to end the quarter.
The Lady Pios were able to limit their turnovers to just six in the second quarter and they held Baggett to just two points.
But they had no answer for Adalie Wriborg.
The senior guard took over and hit Iota’s first five shots of the frame, three from beyond the arch, as the Lady Dogs outscored Notre Dame 18-5 to take a 34-10 cushion at the break.
“Those shots that Adalie hit really blew the game open,” said the elder Baggett. “She’s a good shooter. Sometimes her confidence goes up and down, but, today, she was very confident and she hit some big shots.”
Iota continued to strike from long range in the third quarter with four more 3-pointers.
The reserves hit the court for both teams in the fourth quarter as Iota closed out the game with an 11-4 edge.
Baggett led the Lady Dogs with 22 points while Wriborg had 16. Taylor Deville added eight points; Caroline Hebert scored five and McKenzie Armond had four. Anna Lege and Dominiqua Thomas rounded out the scoring with three points each.
Notre Dame’s Sam Lyons had six points; Hanna Esthay and Mallory Chiasson each had five; Alex Miller scored four; Marie Ledet added two and Peyton Miller had one.
Notre Dame 53
The Midland Rebels continued their dominance in the winner’s bracket quarterfinals Tuesday with an impressive victory over the Notre Dame Pioneers.
The Rebels jumped out to a 19-7 lead in the opening frame and then outscored the Pios 17-9 in the second to take a commanding 36-16 cushion into the break.
Midland added to its lead in the third quarter with a 25-point outburst to take a 61-31 advantage.
Notre Dame rallied in the fourth and outscored Midland’s reserves, 22-9.
Darren Arceneaux and Andrew Hains paced the Rebels with 19 and 15 points, respectively. Alan Vondenstein scored 10 points and Chase Vincent had nine.
Also contributing in the win were Michael Primeaux and Cody Stutes with six points each, Jake Gautreaux with three and Traven Guidry with two.
Jesse Smith led the Pios with 18 points and Austin Bordelon had 11. Waylon Young added nine points; Charlie Mayeaux scored eight; Christian Landry and Jacob LeLeux each had three and Tre Milstead scored one.
Iota Lady Dogs 59
Midland Lady Rebels 19
The Iota Lady Bulldogs improved to 2-0 on the tournament with a thrashing of host Midland Tuesday evening.
The Lady Dogs gave Midland fits the entire game with their defensive pressure, allowing the Lady Rebels just nine points in the first half.
Iota, on the other hand, had little trouble scoring. The Lady Dogs scored 18 in the first quarter and eight in the final two minutes of the second to take a 26-9 advantage.
Allison Baggett scored 10 points in the third quarter as the Lady Dogs increased their lead to 44-14 before Iota’s reserves took the court and outscored Midland, 15-5 in the final period.
Baggett led all scorers with 14 points. Taylor Deville and Caroline Hebert each scored eight points; Dominiqua Thomas had six; McKenzie Armond had five; Anna Lege, Adalie Wriborg, Mallory Faul and Madison Meche each scored three and Paige Soirez, Madison Smith and Alexis St. Andre each had two.
Kristen Breaux led Midland with seven points. Bethany LeJeune added five and Melody Hebert had three. Nicole Kraut and Rhyan Breaux finished with two each.
Lady Pios 58
Jennings Lady Dogs 44
The Notre Dame Lady Pios shrugged off a slow start and broke a tight game open in the fourth quarter by outscoring Jennings 21-11 in the final frame to pull away for their victory Tuesday evening.
Jennings took a 27-26 advantage to start the third quarter on a 3-pointer by Jayln Johnson but Notre Dame recaptured the lead seconds later on a jumper in the lane by Sam Lyons.
Notre Dame went on to outscored Jennings 9-5 over the final six minutes of the third before outscoring the Lady Dogs 21-11 in the fourth to seal the victory.
Alex Miller led the Lady Pios with 13 points and Lyons finished with 12.
Also scoring for the Lady Pios were Hanna Esthay with eight points; Marie Ledet with six; Katherine Kirsch and Gabbie Romero with five each; Mallory Chiasson with four; Mary Charles with three and Peyton Miller with two.
Johnson paced Jennings with a game-high 28 points.