Irvin’s free throws cinch victory
“In the second half, we locked down on defense and settled down on offense.” Tami Reynolds-McClure, St. Michael coach
ST. AMANT — Broadmoor High’s Samira Irvin sank two free throws with two seconds left to ice a 37-34 overtime win over St. Amant High in the first round of the Class 5A girls basketball playoffs Thursday night.
A 4A playoff regular in recent seasons, Broadmoor (18-11) moved up to 5A this season, complete with playoff experience.
The Buccaneers finished fourth in District 4-5A, but showed poised in taking down St. Amant, the 5-5A champion.
“Our district is pretty tough,” Broadmoor coach Terrence Gillette said.
“My hat is off to St. Amant. We were told they find ways to win, and that’s what we’ve been telling our girls.”
Honchea Thornton scored 11 of her team-high 13 points in the third quarter for Broadmoor, which also got eight apiece from Mikayla Crockett and Jasmine Foster.
Irvin’s clutch free throws were her only points of the game.
St. Amant (25-6) was led by Jordan Hatman’s 12, and Jaci Lavigne’s nine. Kara Gremillion finished with six, but fouled out with 36 seconds left in the fourth quarter as St. Amant scrambled to force overtime.
“All season long we’ve battled these close ones at the end,” St. Amant coach Kristy Englade said.
“I tell our team four things are important: layups, free throws, turnovers and rebounds, and tonight it didn’t go our way.”
Broadmoor led 32-25 with 2:31 left in regulation, but ran into trouble as it tried to run down the clock.
The Bucaneers had six turnovers in the final minutes, helping St. Amant score the last seven points to force overtime.
In overtime, Broadmoor missed its first two shots, and turned the ball over twice more. St. Amant couldn’t take advantage, and missed its three opening shots.
Crockett put Broadmoor ahead to stay on a driving layup with a minute left in overtime. The teams traded free throws before St. Amant pulled within 35-34 on a free throw by Lavigne.
St. Amant had two chances to take the lead, thanks to missed Broadmoor free throws.
Lavigne missed a layup in heavy traffic, and Nekyla Williams lost the ball in the backcourt.
Irvin hit both her free throws with two seconds left, and Lavigne’s half-court heave was off the mark at the buzzer.
“This is my 12th year here, and it’s our 10th year in the playoffs,” Gillette said. “We always tell our girls if you lose in the first round you weren’t supposed to be there. That’s not for everyone, but in our minds we’re supposed to win the first game.”
Both teams shot well under 50 percent in the first half, although St. Amant surged ahead at the end of the first half. Lavigne hit a 3-pointer, and Gremillion had a pair of baskets as the Gators outscored Broadmoor 7-3 in the final 2:30 for a 16-15 halftime lead.
The third quarter belonged to Thornton, who scored all 11 of Broadmoor’s points. At halftime, Gillette urged his team to take the ball inside and Thornton responded.
“We told the girls we had to get the ball inside,” Gillette said.
“Shoot the ball, and worry about getting it blocked.”
Hartman scored four points to spark St. Amant’s 7-0 run at the end of regulation. The Gators had the ball with eight seconds left, but Meghan Melugen’s jumper was off the mark at the buzzer.
“I’m proud of these girls for the season they had,” Englade said. “I thought we were going to make a longer run in the playoffs.”