Lady Pios to host Church Point
By Chris Quebedeaux
CROWLEY – History has a way of repeating itself and that is one thing Notre Dame coach Nolan Theriot is hoping to avoid this evening when his Lady Pios play host to Church Point’s Lady Bears.
Last season, after defeating Church Point by one point in the first round of District 5-AAA play, the Lady Pios fell to the Lady Bears in the regular season finale to end any hopes of tying for the league title with Northwest.
This year, the similarities are eerie heading into tonight’s matchup.
Notre Dame and Church Point are tied for second place in league standings at 5-2 and the Lady Pios slipped away with a 55-54 victory over the Lady Bears in their first meeting two weeks ago.
“We definitely don’t want a repeat of last year,” Theriot said Thursday. “Looking back at last year’s game, I think we underestimated them the second time around. I think they surprised us with their play and they were very energized. They kind of zapped us early and we just were never able to recover.
“But we’ve had a couple good days of practice and I think we are ready. We’re definitely pulling out all the stops. We want to win the game.”
Church Point will be looking to avenge the loss to the Lady Pios two weeks ago. In that contest, the Lady Bears had the ball for the final possession, but they failed to get a shot off before the clock ran out.
Church Point dropped another close game at home two days later, falling to league leader Northwest, 45-44.
“The fact that they lost two close ones in a row, it was kind of like a 1-2 punch on them and I think that really stunned them,” said Theriot. “You’re talking about a basket here and there and they could be in first place. I think they have a lot to prove. They feel like feel like they should be No. 1 and barring a couple of close losses, they would be.
“I think they would love to come out here and shut us down and do it decisively. We definitely have to come with an A game if we want to be in it.”
Notre Dame has been playing extremely well heading into tonight’s showdown, winning six of its last seven games. During that period, the Lady Pios have average a tad under 57 points per game.
They even played well in that one defeat to Northwest a little over a week ago when they led by as many as 15 until the fourth quarter.
“Our point differentials against Rayne and Crowley were huge and then against Church Point and Northwest it was tight,” said Theriot. “I think that just came down to matchups. Our style of play kind of constitutes the fact that we are going to be able to put up points.”
One concern of Theriot’s is the adjustments the Lady Bears will make from the last time the two teams met.
“It’s going to be interesting to see what types of changes they come up with,” said Theriot. “Even if they do come out with something different, I think the biggest question will be how they counter how we defended them last time. We will have to be able to adjust to what they have new.”
One of the many keys for Notre Dame will be to contain standout forward Shalen Handy. The Lady Pios had some success with that the first time around, limiting the senior forward to just seven points.
However, Handy is not the Lady Bears’ only threat. Guards Deniseo and Jalisia Citizen are also dangerous when driving the lane as well as shooting from the outside.
“Without saying that we are going to shut her down because that is impossible, I think we can limit Shalen,” said Theriot. “The big key is going to be stopping Deniseo’s penetration and make sure that Jalisia doesn’t have any spot-up threes. We have to run at one and kind of sag back on the other. I think if we can kind of limit those scores we’ll be alright.
“We also need to try and be physical on the inside, block out and limit them to one shot. Rebounding is one key and we have to make more free throws than they take. If those two things occur, I think we’ll be okay.”