Ouachita Christian jumped out to a sizable first quarter lead and shook off foul trouble to take care of St. Frederick 61-45 Friday night.
The visiting Lady Eagles (24-0, 6-0 District 2-1A) never trailed against the Lady Warriors (17-4, 3-3).
OCS made its first three shots to open up an early 7-2 advantage.
Conleigh Laseter’s bucket from the left perimeter and a 3-pointer by Avery Hopkins staked OCS to an early 5-0 lead. Alyssa Dismuke put St. Fred on the board with a pair of free throws before Jayden Ellerman drove the lane.
With the Lady Eagles up 12-8, consecutive 3s by Anna Dale Melton and Laseter extended the margin to 10 (18-8).
OCS widened the difference to 23-10 at the end of the frame on a driving layup by Emery Wirtz.
Hopkins nailed a trey to open the second quarter scoring as the Lady Eagles opened up their biggest lead of the half, 26-10.
St. Fred then narrowed the gap to seven behind a 9-0 flurry. Pashonce Johnson’s layup, Rachel Woods’ goal from the left baseline, two Pashonnay Johnson free throws and a Pashonce Johnson 3-pointer reduced the deficit to 26-19.
Carley Teekell set up Wirtz down low to end the OCS drought.
Shortly thereafter, Pashonce Johnson and Dismuke combined to make 3-of-4 free throws as the Lady Warriors climbed within 28-22.
Baskets by Hopkins and Wirtz pushed the margin to 32-23 at intermission.
“It was a hard-fought game. There were a lot of fouls called early in the game,” said OCS coach Stan Humphries, whose team was charged with 14 of the 21 first half team fouls. “We had a lot of girls with two fouls early.”
Unable to capitalize on the foul discrepancy, the Lady Warriors were 20-of-38 (52.6 percent) from the free throw line. OCS converted only 5-of-12 (41.6 percent) of its freebies.
In contrast to the Lady Warriors, who carry only six players on their roster, Humphries has the luxury of a deep bench. Melton finished with nine points on a trio of trifectas and Sara Shivers added six points in reserve roles.
“One of our freshmen, Anna Dale Melton, stepped up at point guard, and gave us some great minutes,” Humphries said. “In the second half, we were able to get our starters back in, and pull it out a little further. We were able to get Conleigh Laseter, Avery Hopkins and Emery Wirtz — our three leading scorers this year — going and flowing in the second half.”
St. Fred was never closer than seven, 32-25 and 42-35, in the second half. Melton’s third 3 of the game sent the Lady Eagles into the fourth quarter leading 45-35.
Three-pointers by Hopkins and Laseter widened the distance to 51-35 early in the fourth quarter.
OCS went up by as many as 23, 59-36, on a Shivers layup.
Laseter topped the Lady Eagles’ balanced output with 14 points, Hopkins had 13 and Wirtz 11. With St. Fred forced to rely on a zone due to a shortage of numbers, the Lady Eagles were 8-of-18 (55.5 percent) from 3-point range. Hopkins and Melton knocked down three triples apiece and Laseter two.
St. Fred’s Pashonnay Johnson led all scorers with 21.
Upcoming: OCS is home for its next three vs. Tensas on Tuesday, Delhi on Friday and Cedar Creek on Tuesday, Jan. 28. Next up for St. Fred is a three-game road swing with stops as Sicily Island (Tuesday), Cedar Creek (Friday) and Delta Charter (Tuesday, Jan. 28).
OCS ………….. 23 9 13 16—61
St. Frederick .. 10 13 12 10—45
OUACHITA CHRISTIAN (24-0, 6-0) — Conleigh Laseter 14, Avery Hopkins 13, Emery Wirtz 11, Anna Dale Melton 9, Carley Teekell 6, Sara Shivers 6, Jayden Ellerman 2.
ST. FREDERICK (17-4, 3-3) — Pashonnay Johnson 21, Alyssa Dismuke 9, Pashonce Johnson 8, Somer Maddox 3, Rachel Woods 2, Tamara Brown 2.
Three-point goals — Ouachita Christian 8 (Hopkins 3, Melton 3, Laseter 2), St. Frederick 1 (Pashonce Johnson 1). Total fouls — Ouachita Christian 25, St. Frederick 16. Free throw shooting — Ouachita Christian 5-12, St. Frederick 20-38. Fouled out — Wirtz (2:57, 4th). Technicals — none.