The Abbeville Lady Wildcats entered the north gym of Rayne High School in search of a hard-fought quarterfinal. In that they found in the No. 3-ranked Lady Wolves.
Both teams haven’t seen a Sweet 16 win in years and were looking forward to a fast-paced, action-packed contest.
“The effort our girls gave tonight was great,” stated Rayne Coach Chester Randall of his Lady Wolves’s effort. “These girls have given their best effort all season, and tonight’s game proved that.”
From the start, both teams hung tough with full-court presses, each trying their best in breaking free for scores. Soon, the quick-paced contest prepared fans for a come down to the wire finish.
Abbeville took a quick 4-1 lead early on in the first quarter, forcing a timeout by Rayne mid-way through. With a couple of steals by Tanner Wilson and short jumper from Whitley Larry, the quarter ended in an 8-8 tie with a long mid-court shot by Trsitan Mouton.
On a steal and layup by Tori Carriere, Rayne took a slim 13-12 lead early on in the second quarter of action, but Abbeville’s Malory Plaissance knocked down a three, along with a couple freethrows for another lead by Abbeville at 20-15.
The halftime break came with a 22-19 Abbeville lead as Autumn Touchet sank two freethrows and Arrayia Starlard tipped in a layup off a fastbreak.
The second half of play saw team leader Demian Nolan increase her stats with a layup and additional freethrow pace Abbeville with a 25-20 lead.
A three-pointer from Charlesha Dugas and layups by Wilson and Ciera Harmon placed the Lady Wolves within striking distance as the quarter wound down trailing 31-28. But, a couple of Nolan freethrows after the buzzer gave Abbeville a 33-28 advantage going into the last quarter, one filled with a number of lead changes.
Rayne trailed by eight (36-28) early in the fourth quarter before going on an 11-2 run behind baskets from Charlesa Dugas and Whitley Larry, along with five points from Tristan Mouton.
The crowd was brought to their feet as Mouton found the basket with a 3-pointer, knotting the game at 37-37. Larry hit a basket in the paint with 2:30 left to give the Lady Wolves a two-point advantage.
Abbeville regrouped from there and closed out the game on an 8-2 run.
“We had spurts but couldn’t get our offense running tonight,” commented Randall on the tough loss. “I’m not taking anything away from Abbeville -- they played a great game. But, we just didn;t shoot the basketball as well as we can.”
Mouton paced the Lady Wolves with 12 points and Dugas had nine. Larry followed with six points, in addition to nine rebounds and nine blocked shots.
Cierra Harmon added five for the Lady Wolves and Tanner Wilson had four plus nine steals. Brentashia Lewis and Ziera Gabriel each had two points and Naosha Leopaul finished with one.
Derrian Nolan and Arrayia Starlard led Abbeville with 14 and 11 points, respectively.
“I just can’t say enough about the effort our girls gave tonight,” concluded Randall. “This group, minus one to graduation, will be back next year with that effort.”
The Lady Wolves finished their productive season with a 26-7 overall tally and a district co-crown.