The (22-11) West Monroe girls basketball team’s first home loss of the entire season came at the worst point of the year, as the No. 8 Lady Rebels were upset by No. 25 Northshore in the opening round of the Class 5A playoffs.
Northshore’s Tyyunna Sylvas got a last-second bucket to fall to erase a 17-point second-half deficit and ultimately beat West Monroe, 51-50.
“We certainly didn’t expect this to be the outcome tonight,” West Monroe head coach John Green said. “We felt like we had things in control, and then I felt like there was a spot there where it seemed like we had five possessions in a row where we caught five fouls. We had to sit Amaya West, and they got hungry and starting filling it up. That’s what happens in the playoffs. Momentum is such a huge thing. We couldn’t finish. We missed a lot of free throws, and we didn’t get press-breakers executed.”
The No. 25 Lady Panthers trailed 40-23 late in the third quarter before outscoring the No. 8 Lady Rebels 28-10 in the final 11 minutes of the contest.
The Lady Rebels missed three costly free throws in the final two minutes to aid Northshore’s comeback.
Dezarae Stewart, who led the Lady Rebels in scoring against Ouachita with 20 points and has been one of West Monroe’s top scorers all season, missed the opening round with an injury. So when Amaya West fouled out with West Monroe leading 47-43 in the fourth quarter, Green could do nothing but sit back and watch his worst-case scenario unfold before him.
“I would think that’s about as big as it gets,” Green said. “When you lose one of the best guards in the state to begin with, it’s kind of a difficult situation. We felt good with Amaya and felt good with Precious (Robinson) stepping in, but Amaya getting in foul trouble, she’s certainly strong with the basketball and that played a big factor. I don’t think she played but probably three minutes in the whole half.”
Unable to utilize their size advantage inside, West Monroe switched from a zone offense in the first half to finding mismatches to exploit underneath. The Lady Rebels did that at the start of the third quarter.
That’s when West Monroe used an 11-0 run to build a 16-point lead, as four different West Monroe players took advantage of steals and offensive rebounds.
Faith Robinson ended her West Monroe career by leading the Lady Rebels with 17 points in the loss.
Early on, Northshore feasted off of offensive rebounds and West Monroe’s easy misses inside to lead the Lady Rebels.
After taking a 2-0 lead, West Monroe trailed until the final minute of the quarter. Makayla Glass got an offensive put-back to give the Lady Rebels an 11-10 lead at the end of the quarter.
Lady Panther guard Tierra Sylvas recorded a steal on the opening possession of the second quarter and recorded an and-one to give Northshore a two-point advantage. West Monroe answered with a 7-0 run, which was highlighted by baskets inside by Faith Robinson, West and Chelsi George.
Reed scored 12 of Northshore’s 22 first-half points. West Monroe head coach John Green called for West to switch on her defensively to try and slow her down.
“The big thing was we started out in a press, and sometimes you can’t match up with who you want to match up with,” Green said. “We put Amaya in the back of the press, hoping we could get Amaya locked on her.”
West recorded a key steal with under 17 seconds to play in the half, which ultimately led to a Ja’Liyah Everett layup on the other end. That capped a 6-0 Lady Rebel run that allowed West Monroe to take a 27-22 halftime lead.
Reed led the Lady Panthers with 16 points in the victory.