Second-ranked Jennings slips past Iota
By Chris Quebedeaux
IOTA – For more than two quarters Tuesday, the Iota Lady Bulldogs had Class AAA’s second-ranked team on the ropes.
But with Iota leading 41-30 midway through the third quarter and looking for the knockout blow, the visiting Jennings Lady Bulldogs caught their second wind.
Thanks to a resilient full-court press, Jennings trimmed the lead to seven (51-44) by the end of the third quarter and then went on a 17-4 run over the first five minutes of the fourth en route to a 71-63 victory over the homestanding Lady Dogs.
With the victory, Jennings kept its grip on the District 4-AAA lead at 4-0. The Lady Dogs fell into third place at 2-2.
“I’m beyond proud of the effort our girls gave tonight,” said Iota coach Stan Baggett following the loss. “We came to play. We didn’t lay down and the girls fought until the final horn.”
That fight put Jennings in a hole early in the second half when Iota went on an 11-2 run to start the frame.
The spurt prompted Jennings to go to the press which quickly produced 14 turnovers in the final 12 minutes.
“They (Jennings) are so much more athletic than we are and so much physically stronger,” said Baggett. “When they jumped in that press, it really wore us down. We controlled the tempo up until about two minutes to go in the third quarter and then we just fell apart.”
Also aiding in Jennings’ late rally was the fact that Iota forwards Jade LeJeune and Ashley Hargrave were both in foul trouble for most of the contest. Both played sparingly in the second half before LeJeune eventually fouled out with just under three minutes remaining.
“Jade being in foul trouble hurt us bad because I don’t even think she played half a game,” said Baggett. “We had a presence inside with her and Ashley in the game, but I couldn’t play them together at any time because of the foul trouble with Jade.”
With LeJeune on the bench, Jennings was able to slice the lane for easy baskets in the fourth quarter. That coupled with the sharp shooting of Kiara Etienne (27 points) and Jalyn Johnson (13 points) spelled doom for the Lady Dogs.
“Their speed and their athleticism really killed us,” said Baggett. “They are so deep and they have kids that can just run, jump and shoot.”
Iota also struggled from the free throw line, converting on just 11 of its 22 attempts.
Allison Baggett helped keep the score respectable, draining six of her 24 points from beyond the 3-point line in the final 22 seconds.
LeJeune pitched in 11 points and Hargrave scored nine. Tori Stroderd added eight points, Katelyn Regan scored seven, Ana Lege scored three and Katie Latiola scored one.
The Lady Dogs return to league action Friday when they entertain Class AAA’s fourth-ranked St. Louis Lady Saints.