Lady Pios eliminate Evangel

Notre Dame’s Madelyn LeJeune drives past a defender Thursday during the Lady Pios’ 70-52 playoff victory over Evangel at Crowley High School. LeJeune poured in a game-high 23 points on the night. (Photo by Jason Faul)

 CROWLEY – The Notre Dame Lady Pios showed exactly why they are the No. 5 seed in the Class 3A playoffs Thursday in their bi-district matchup with No. 28 Evangel.
And they did it early and often.
The Lady Pios (25-4) set the tone from the start by going on a 10-2 run to start the game and from there, they cruised to an impressive 70-52 victory over the Lady Eagles at Crowley High School
“We got started out the gate and we were able to knock down some quick shots that seemed to surprise them,” said ND coach Nolan Theriot, whose squad will now play host to No. 12 seed Green Oaks Monday at 6 p.m.  “I could just tell early on that it was going to be a good game for us. We had a little pep in our step and you could just tell that they had just raised it up a level. It’s postseason and the girls were focused and they came out and got it done.”
The Lady Pios went on to take a 21-8 advantage after the first quarter and cruised into the half with a 37-20 cushion.
The first-half barrage was sparked by Madeline LeJeune and Sam Lyons who combined for 24 points in the first 16 minutes of play.
“Madeline did a great job on the boards and had a number of putbacks and she hit some nice shots from four-five feet,” said Theriot of Lejeune, who also pulled down five offensive rebounds on the night. “And Sam did a great job of driving to the basket.”
Evangel, however, didn’t go down without a fight. The Lady Eagles came out in the second half firing on all cylinders behind guards Rachel Johnson and Tiara Young, who combined for 19 points in the third quarter.
“We knew those two kids (Johnson and Young) could play; they were basically a two-man wrecking crew,” said Theriot of the duo that combined for 42 points on the night. “Despite us trying to deny them and stop them from scoring, they still put up 42 points. They were determined that they were going to score and they would just create off the dribble.”
The Lady Eagles nearly cut the lead to single digits during the run, but the Lady Pios answered with a 3-pointer from Gabbie Romero and they eventually pushed the cushion back up the 15 (56-41) heading into the final frame.
LeJeune and Lyons each added five more points in the final quarter and the Lady Pios outscored the Lady Eagles 14-11 over the final eight minutes.
“They did not go away,” said Theriot of Evangel. “They cut it to 10 with the basketball, but we would come right back and hit a three and you could see that they were kind of getting worn down.
“They’d make a shot and we would get it in and one or two passes later we were getting a layup because we were beating them down the court.”
LeJeune led all scorers on the night with 23 points; Lyons had 17. LeJeune also pulled down eight rebounds and Lyons had seven to go along with four assists.
Hanna Esthay also had a big game with 13 points and eight rebounds. Alex Miller added seven points, seven rebounds and one steal and Romero had six points and five assists. Elise LeBeouf rounded out the offense with four points.
Johnson paced the Lady Eagles with 22 points while Young pitched in 20. 

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