The answer is: No. 2 Denham Springs responds to late change, advances to title game

The answer is: No. 2 Denham Springs responds to late change, advances to title game
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Denham Springs has shown the ability to produce a finishing kick all season long and the Yellow Jackets came up with their biggest of the season Thursday night.

After surrendering the lead for the first time in the game, second-seeded Denham Springs outscored Mandeville by nine points in the closing minutes to take a 46-39 win in the quarterfinals of the Division I non select girls playoffs at the University Center in Hammond.

Third-seeded Mandeville (26-6), which came into the contest riding a 15-game winning streak, trailed until Hannah Benoit converted a three-point play giving the Skippers a 37-35 lead with 4:47 left to play.

The Yellow Jackets had an answer.

Raegan White made a 3-pointer from the right corner allowing Denham Springs (27-4) to retake the lead for good. After a defensive stop, the Yellow Jackets got an inside basket from Prai’ Nelson and they began to focus on running the clock.

“We’ve been doing this all year,” Denham Springs coach Rudy Smith said. “We punch people in the face in the first quarter, except for Walker, and then we slowly fade. We make it a war at the end, and a lot of time its just us. We always find a way to win and we found a way to win tonight.”

Denham Springs advances to the championship game for the first time since 2019, when it lost to Captain Shreve. The Yellow Jackets will face No. 5 Parkway, which beat top-seeded Walker 64-63 on a half-court buzzer-beating 3-pointer in overtime. The championship will be at 6 p.m. Saturday.

Denham Springs had five players score seven or more points including Nelson, who finished with 12 points and 12 rebounds. White and Julissa Cabrera each scored eight points, and Taylor Smith handed out eight assists.

Mandeville made only 14 of 47 shots (29.8%) but grabbed 14 offensive rebounds. Hannah Benoit led the Skippers with 12 points and 11 rebounds while Alanna Benoit had 12 points and eight rebounds. Saleigh Berry added 10 points.

“It was a tough one,” Mandeville coach Melissa Weinmunson said. “Defensively, we worked for three days to run them off the (3-point line) and, I don’t know, it was rough. They hit some big shots.”

The first half began like a shootout.

White’s 3-pointer 20 seconds into the game started a 7-0 opening run for the Yellow Jackets. Mandeville had four turnovers in the opening minutes, but eventually got going with three 3-pointers – two from Alanna Benoit and one from Berry.

The teams traded baskets for much of the quarter until two quick Yellow Jacket turnovers helped the Skippers get close. The first one led to Alanna Benoit’s short bank shot and the second resulted in Hannah Benoit’s layup.

Nelson’s follow shot late in the quarter left Denham Springs with a 17-14 lead.

In the second quarter, Neither team scored during the first four minutes. Denham Springs had five turnovers and Mandeville missed its first six shots.

The Skippers closed to within 20-18 on Alanna Benoit’s jumper, but the Yellow Jackets got the last two buckets of the half to take a 24-18 lead into the break.

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About Marc Lemoine 1470 Articles
Marc is an Economist and a well experienced weightlifter who has won many championships. He intends to build a bright career in the media industry as well. He is a sports freak who loves to cover the latest news on sports, finance and economy.

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