GIRLS: Ouachita Christian 5, Bastrop 2
Ashton Chowns' hat trick sent Ouachita Christian on its way to a 5-2 victory over Bastrop on an unseasonably warm January Monday afternoon at Ram Stadium.
Nevertheless, Bastrop's season finale proved to be a memorable Senior Night for Katy Smith, one of four Lady Rams, playing in their final game. Smith scored both of the Lady Rams' on penalty kicks to keep the home side within striking distance most of the match.
“We really showed a lot of improvement over the last three games,” first-year Bastrop coach Jessica Pylant said. “Against Neville, we didn't give up. Even when Neville went into the triangle and started running time off the clock, we didn't quit. We were able to steal the ball and score. Against West Ouachita, I saw more hustle than I've seen all year long. I thought we continued with the hustle and hard work against OCS. We did a better job of pushing the ball forward and working it toward the goal than we've been doing.”
Chowns staked the Lady Eagles to a 1-0 lead, finding the top of the net on a perfectly-placed shot from a right angle just outside the box in the sixth minute.
Shortly afterward, Kaeli Miller's rebound goal doubled OCS' advantage to 2-0.
Settling down after the rocky start, the Lady Rams closed the gap to 2-1 on Smith's penalty kick from 15 yards out.
Akira Winston's long run led to a corner kick, but the Lady Rams were unable to convert the tying goal.
On the attack continuously, OCS stretched its lead to 4-1 at halftime.
Anna Claire Yarbrough tapped in a rebound from the mouth of the goal on a corner kick by Abby Benson, and Chowns finished a two-on-one on a pass from Emily Healy for her second goal of the match.
Continuing to battle, the Lady Rams closed within 4-2 early in the second half as Smith banged a penalty kick off the top of the net.
Bastrop was awarded back-to-back penalty kicks in the 67th minute, but came away empty in its efforts to cut the deficit to a single goal.
Chowns' 40-yard run capped the scoring and sealed the OCS victory.
OCS out-shot the Lady Rams 11-2 in the first half and 27-4 for the match. Bastrop goalkeeper Megan Crymes came up with 12 saves on a busy evening.
Still, Pylant was pleased with the heart her side showed as it concluded the second season in school history.
“I'm excited and proud of the way we ended our season,” Pylant said. “I'm looking forward to seeing more improvement next year. We lose four seniors and we only had two juniors. If everyone comes back next year, we'll have a lot of freshmen and sophomores with a year of experience behind them.”
While the Lady Rams (1-13) still have a long climb ahead, Pylant saw signs of progress.
“It's been a season of firsts like the girls called it,” Pylant said. “We had our first home game, our first win, our first district game and scored two goals in a game for the first time. Last year, they scored two goals all season. This year, they scored eight. Eight's not very many — some people scored eight on us in one game — but we came a long way.”