St. Thomas Aquinas, Pickering meet again

In 2010, St. Thomas Aquinas defeated Pickering in a Class 2A girls basketball semifinal playoff game, then beat University High in the final.

Half of that scenario is still possible as the Falcons play Pickering in a LHSAA semifinal in Hammond at Southeastern Louisiana University’s University Center.

Second-seeded STA (28-5) battles third-seeded Pickering (28-3) at 8 p.m. Friday. The winner will play defending state champion John Curtis, which defeated top-seeded University 67-59 in a Southeast Regional semifinal Thursday.

STA and Pickering are meeting in the playoffs for the third time in four years. Pickering defeated STA 58-57 last season in regional round of the playoffs, while St. Thomas Aquinas defeated Pickering 58-46 in 2010 in the semifinals and University 71-58 in the final to claim its first girls basketball state title.

“Pickering likes to run and plays a silimar style to us,” St. Thomas Aquinas coach John White said. “Pickering has a good point guard and good forward. We’re not very tall, but we play good defense and we’re fast. Our pressure defense keys our up-tempo offense.”

STA starts an all-senior lineup led by McNeese State basketball signee Amber Donnes (19 ppg). Donnes, a 5-foot-10 point guard, is the tallest starter. Other starters are Carly Keller (16 ppg), Allie Seale (12 ppg), Addie Shafer (8 ppg) and Meg Gambel (8 ppg).

STA and Pickering have winning streaks of 16 and 17 games, respectively.

STA trailed by one point entering the fourth quarter of its quarterfinal game against North Caddo. The Falcons stepped up their game and went on to win 53-45.

“Our seniors really took control when it counted in their last home game,” White said. “We’re excited about the short bus trip in our hometown for the semifinals. We played one game at University Center this year. It should be an exciting and high-scoring game against Pickering.”

Warren Easton vs. St. Thomas More: In a Class 4A semifinal set for 6:15 p.m., top-seeded Warren Easton (34-2) tries to dethrone defending state champion and fifth-seeded St. Thomas More (29-5).

Warren Easton defeated STM 50-35 on Jan. 19. STM downed Warren Easton 72-45 in the 2012 quarterfinals.

Senior forward Jeremica Edwards is an Easton leader.

Warren Easton is seeking to become the first New Orleans public school to win a state championship in girls basketball in the state tournament era, which started in 1963.