Lady Dogs crush Kinder in playoff opener

IOTA – What a difference a couple of weeks makes.

The last time Iota and Kinder squared off in a girls’ basketball game - mid-January - the Lady Bulldogs shrugged off a slow start to slip past the Lady Yellow Jackets, 49-37.

Thursday, there was no slow start and no just getting by when the two teams met again in the opening round of the Class AA playoffs at Iota High School.

The No. 9 seed Lady Dogs poured it on early and often, racing out to a 40-19 advantage at the break en route to a 74-35 victory in front of a capacity crowd.

“I thought we played real well tonight,” said Iota coach Stan Baggett. “We came out and set the tone from the beginning of the game and kind of took them (Kinder) out of it early.

“We knew Kinder was coming over here with nothing to lose and we needed to jump on them quick and not let them think that they had any chance at all and we did just that.”

Iota’s bomb squad set that tone by connecting on eight 3-pointers in the first half and 12 overall.

Tori Stroderd led the charge, hitting three trifectas in the first quarter while Allison Baggett and Anna Lege each hit one.

“If you shoot 12-for-27 from the 3-point line, you’re very dangerous,” said Baggett. “You can strike a lot of fear because those threes are deadly. If you shoot 33 percent from the 3-point line, that’s equal to 50 percent from the two. Here we are, 12-for-47, that’s in the low 40s. That is a deadly weapon.”

Lege dropped in two more 3-pointers and Baggett added one in the second quarter to help push Iota’s lead to 21 (40-19) at the half. Katelyn Regan also had four points in the frame and Candace Sensat had two.

Iota’s defense was equally up to the task, especially in the second half. The Lady Dogs held Kinder to just nine points in the third quarter and seven in the fourth.

“We just had a lot of intensity tonight,” said Baggett. “Our defense was outstanding and it carried through the entire contest.”

Baggett was also impressed with his team’s balanced offensive attack that placed four Lady Dogs in double figures. Allison Baggett, Stroderd and Lege each poured in 15 points on the night while Dominiqua Thomas had 11. Regan added seven points and Sensat rounded out the scoring with seven.

Thomas also grabbed 10 rebounds to finish with a double-double while Baggett had nine rebounds and four assists. Sensat pulled down seven rebounds while Regan and Stroderd dished out six and five assists respectively.

“We were very unselfish tonight,” said the elder Baggett, whose team turned the ball over just five times on the night. “The ball handling and the passing was very nice. We made some beautiful passes. Like I said, it was just some very unselfish play and the kids just stepped up and played tonight. I think they are very insulted about their No. 9 ranking and they were fired up to play.

“To win by the margin that we won by, it’s just a good way to head into the second round.”

Unfortunately, the Lady Dogs may go into that second round one player short.

Regan went down with a foot injury in the third quarter and could possibly be sidelined for the Lady Dogs’ next contest.

“Katelyn is so valuable to our team because of her leadership as well as her ball handling and passing skills,” said Baggett. “We’re hoping that she will be okay to play Monday because we depend on her so much. It could cause us problems if she can’t suit up.”

Iota will now travel to Coushatta Monday to take on No. 25 Red River who upset No. 8 Ville Platte Thursday, 57-54.

“Red River is very athletic,” said Baggett. “They love to run and gun and we love to run and gun so I have a feeling that it’s going to be a high scoring game.”

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