Pine’s playoff run ends in the quarters

Published 11:10 am Monday, March 2, 2015

Pine’s Lady Raiders had their playoff run come to an end against St. Thomas Aquinas Thursday, 48-39, in the quarterfinal round of the Class 2A state playoffs on the road.

Things looked good for sixth-seeded Pine early.

The Raiders jumped out to a 6-0 lead.

The opening points came after several offensive rebounds, and then Breyanna Brown, who had 10 points, capped off the possession with a jumper to make it 2-0 at the 7:07 mark of the first quarter.

Laken Breedlove, who finished with eight, made it 4-0 by driving in for two. Chelsey Turnage found Kaylee for two more for a 6-0 advantage with 6:20 remaining in the first quarter, forcing the Lady Falcons to call timeout.

Third-seeded St. Thomas Aquinas trimmed Pine’s lead to 6-3 on a 3-point play by Jada Richard at the 5:56 mark.

The lead was still three at 12-9 with 1:54 remaining.

St. Thomas Aquinas did a great job of finishing periods, which played an important role in the contest.

The Lady Falcons capped off the first quarter with five unanswered points,as part of a 7-0 run that ended in the second quarter.

Jordan Strahan knocked down two free throws with 13.7 seconds left. Then Pine made an errant pass, which resulted in the Lady Falcons getting possession.

The turnover hurt as Regan Bolton, who had a game-high 20 points, knocked down a 3-pointer, giving St. Thomas Aquinas its first lead at 14-12.

St. Thomas Aquinas scored eight points on period-ending shots Thursday. Bolton hit a pair of threes to end quarters, and Courtney Dawsey, who posted 13, knocked down a jumper to cap off the first half.

The run continued to begin the second quarter when Strahan hit two more free throws to make it 16-12 just 26 seconds in.

Ny Ny Robertson ended the run with two free throws of her own but Bolton responded quickly with a 3-pointer and St. Thomas was ahead, 19-14.

Pine closed the gap with a free throw from Kaylee Turnage. Breedlove connected with Chelsey Turnage for two and it was 19-17 with 6:04 to go in the first half.

But St. Thomas responded with five straight. Bolton nailed a three from the top of the key and was then good for two. It was 24-17 with 3:57 left in the first half.

That sequence became familiar throughout the game, mainly in the second half. St. Thomas would build the lead, and Pine would draw close before the Lady Falcons tacked onto the advantage.

St. Thomas Aquinas led 29-21 at the break.

Pine came out of the halftime lockerroom strong. The Lady Raiders tallied the first six points of the second half. Kaylee Turnage, who posted nine points, pulled down an offensive rebound and was good on the putback. Brown made a field goal, and a jumper. Pine had closed the gap to 29-27.

But St. Thomas responded with four in a row on a two by Bolton and two free throws from Bolton to make it 33-27 with 2:42 left.

Brown tallied at the 2:29 mark of the third quarter but those were Pine’s final points of the third period.

During that time, St. Thomas ran off seven in a row. Larilyn Gay made one of two from the line for her only point before Carly Drude, who had five, hit a two. Bolton knocked down a trey to end the period with St. Thomas Aquinas up, 40-29.

But Pine had another run left.

With St. Thomas ahead, 41-33, Breedlove found Robertson for two and then Breedlove knocked down a jumper, forcing St. Thomas to call timeout, as Pine was getting closer, and trailed just 41-37 with 4:20 left.

The margin stayed at four, 43-39, with 3:22 left. St. Thomas began spreading the floor and Pine had to foul to stop the clock.

St. Thomas scored the game’s final five points on free throws, ending another solid season by the Lady Raiders’ basketball team. It was another step forward for Pine, which made it to the regional round last season.

The team finished with a 24-8 record.

“I couldn’t have asked for anything more out of them,” Pine coach Pine coach Lynell Pope said. “They came, they played as a team, unfortunately we didn’t come out on top, but we came and gave it everything that we had. Those girls played hard.”

The club had two seniors in Morgan Thomas and Kaylee Turnage.

“They’ll surely be missed,” Pope said. “Kaylee and Morgan are hustlers. Both can take the ball in, and drive and Morgan shooting outside. They’ll definitely be missed. They’ll also be missed in the locker room and as a part of our Raider family.”

Kaylee Turnage finished with four points while Thomas added two and Roberson totaled six points.

St. Thomas Aquinas is now 26-8.

The Lady Falcons move to the semifinals to take on either second-seeded Lake Arthur or seventh-seeded North Caddo at Burton Coliseum in Lake Charles March 5 at 6:15 p.m.

Lake Arthur and North Caddo played last night.

Going into this season, since 2008, the St. Thomas Aquinas has made it to at least the quarterfinals. In that time period, the Lady Falcons have captured two state titles (2010 and 2013), has two semifinal appearances and three quarterfinals.

Strahan finished with five points for St. Thomas Aquinas.