WATSON – Maurepas’ McKenna Lessard had just slithered through Live Oak’s full-court pressure, then made a bounce pass to Emma Gautreau for a layup.
Before the ball completely fell through the net, Live Oak coach Michelle Yawn had called timeout, upset over the sequence.
The Lady Eagles were in control, leading by 13 points with just under three minutes until halftime, but that mattered little to Yawn in a stern message to her team.
“We can’t guard on the ball,” Yawn said after her team’s 62-21 victory over Maurepas at C.B. Wheat Gymnasium. “Their post player had a fast break layup and we can’t stop that? I think we have all the pieces we need to be pretty good, but that’s all on paper. It’s the intangibles that we’re missing, and they don’t understand that. I’ve got to do a better job of (stressing) that.”
Live Oak responded with consecutive baskets to close the half, with Dijone' Flowers feeding Harmony Johnson cutting to the goal for a layup. Flowers then got an open look from the corner with 4.5 seconds to go and drained a 3-pointer for a 30-12 halftime cushion.
Flowers scored 16 of her game-high 24 points in the opening half, while Johnson had 9 of 13 in the opening half as well. Teddy Woodside added seven and Zyriah Pink six.
“I think we played good and played as a team, but the defense was terrible,” Johnson said. “We were all over the place. We were getting beat on defense and fouling. We weren’t making the shots we should have been making.”
Perhaps the end of the second quarter provided a spark for Live Oak (3-1), which scored the first 13 points of the third quarter – making seven straight shots – to build a 43-12 advantage after Woodside’s lay-in after Flowers’ assist.
“We took our time and didn’t rush,” Johnson said. “At first we were rushing to try and get the score up. When we slow down and take our time, it’s our kind of game.”
Maurepas (3-4) finally stopped Live Oak’s run at the 4:23 mark on KK Vicknair’s free throw.
The Lady Wolves had difficulty running their offense because of the Lady Eagles’ 1-2-2 full-court pressure which led to 33 turnovers, including 18 in the first half.
Maurepas missed all four of its field goal attempts in the third quarter and didn’t make its first shot of the second half until Sloane Bercegeay banked in a 3-pointer from the top of the key with 2:51 left in the game, ending a 16-minute drought without a basket.
The Lady Wolves were limited to 17.2 percent shooting (5 of 29) with Gautreau’s four points leading the team.
“Offense has been our biggest struggle,” Maurepas coach Brittany Lauzervich said. “It was also last year, and we lost one starter from that team. They’re (Live Oak) more athletic, but I always like to play them because they give us a new look since they’re a big 5A school. I like for our girls to see that for the future.”
The game was tied once (2-2) after Vicknair converted a steal into a layup.
Flowers snapped that deadlock with the first of her four 3-pointers – a fourth attempt at the basket for Live Oak on the possession – when she scored six straight points for a 11-4 edge.
The Lady Eagles finished the quarter on a 6-0 run that Johnson capped with a put back of her own miss at the buzzer for a 17-7 lead.
Johnson rebounded her own miss to start the second quarter, but Live Oak struggled from the field on 4-of-15 shooting and wound up making 29 percent (10 of 34) of its shots and committing 10 turnovers in the half.
It provided Yawn with plenty of fodder to cover with her team.
“We play (at) Plaquemine on Friday, and I told the girls it’s going to be a dogfight,” Yawn said. “We play Doyle next Wednesday (in Livingston Parish Tournament) and it’s going to be a dogfight.
“We were a five seed last year and a six this year,” Yawn said of the parish tournament. “We don’t have respect because we’re not consistent. We don’t have the reputation where we’re a tough team. That’s what we have to change. We have all the pieces, but we have to put it together.”