Denham Springs girls use stout defense to take win

DENHAM SPRINGS — On a night when a former undefeated team was recognized, the current version of Denham Springs Lady Jackets used their defense to hold their third opponent to 25 or fewer points this season.

Carlisha Kinchen scored 11 points to power Denham Springs to a 32-24 victory over Woodlawn on Friday night in a nondistrict game. It was the fifth straight win for Denham Springs (13-4).

Before the game, Denham Springs’ 1995-96 Class 5A state championship team was recognized. It is the only girls basketball state championship team in school history.

Nine of the 12 players from that 37-0 team were in attendance. Starters on that team were Katrina Hibbert, a former LSU player, Mandy Leader, Marla Wright, Jamie Chustz and Beca McKeithen. Coach Brenda Loe and three others involved with the team were also recognized. A highlight video of the team was shown.

“The current girls got caught up in the excitement of recognizing the championship team and struggled offensively,” Denham Springs coach Shelly LaPrairie said. “Tonight was our worst offensive performance of the year. Our defense did OK. I really liked how Carlisha Kinchen guarded Woodlawn’s big girl.”

At 6-foot, Woodlawn’s
Brianna Smith was the tallest player on the court. While she finished with eight points, Smith had trouble getting open as Kinchen defended her well near the basket.

Guard Adrianna Williams scored 10 points to pace Woodlawn (10-8). Williams missed some of the game with foul trouble and Denham Springs’ full-court press was more
effective during that time.

“We were able to force some turnovers off our press,” Laprairie said. “We didn’t get too many easy buckets off our defense like we’ve been doing most of the years Our guards Jena Mabile and Katie Brignac sparked our defense and got us into our offense.”

Following two free throws by Woodlawn’s Jodi Edo with 2:00 left in the first half, the game was tied at 13. DSHS went on an 8-0 run over two quarters to take control. First, Brianna Ensminger hit a 12-footer off an assist from Kinchen. Then, Mabile hit a tough driving 16-foot bank shot at the buzzer as the Yellow Jackets led 17-13 at the half.

Katie Patterson scored four points in the third quarter for Denham Springs. Her second field goal, a 7-foot baseline shot, put Denham up 26-16. Woodlawn went on a 5-0 run to end the quarter and cut the deficit to 26-21. Denham scored the first six points of the fourth quarter.

“We turned the ball over too many times,” Woodlawn coach Dayna Kohn said. “Their press bothered us.

“We’ve got to do a better job getting the ball to Brianna Smith inside. We’ve been
consistently inconsistent lately. Tonight, we didn’t play four quarters of basketball.

“This group has a lot of
potential, they just need to play with more heart and passion than they do.”