Sterlington 47, Bastrop 36

Sterlington reeled off the game's first 13 points and Bastrop never drew closer than nine as the Lady Panthers closed out their own tournament with a 47-36 triumph Friday night.

Michaela Waters' three-point play and second straight transition bucket, followed by Kaela Mullins' 3-pointer from the left wing staked the Lady Panthers to an 8-0 lead just over two minutes in.

Sterlington cooled off momentarily, managing just two more points on free throws by Mullins and Jayla Stewart over the final 5:46 of the first quarter.

Meanwhile, Bastrop couldn't buy a bucket, missing its first 14 shots.

"Our defense was so good in the first quarter," Sterlington coach Mike Crumpler said. "The kids bought into what we were doing, and blocked out and got some rebounds, which we have been lacking."

Leading 10-0 at the end of the quarter, the Lady Panthers widened the gap to 13 as Waters finished on the break and Brianna Logan added a free throw.

"I couldn't understand it," Bastrop coach Gerline Guillaume said. "We got there early and had our pregame shoot-around, but we just couldn't hit anything. It just wasn't our night."

Bastrop outscored Sterlington 36-34 the rest of the way, but the damage had been done.

"We couldn't get into our press in the early part of the game because we couldn't score," Guillaume said.

At last, Casual Williams ended Bastrop's dry spell with a jumper from the key, with 5:49 remaining in the half.

Waters' transition layup put Sterlington back up by 13 (15-2), before Martianna Johnson's rebound bucket and Javia Kennedy's steal and layup closed the gap to 16-6.

Leading 19-8, the Lady Panthers opened up their biggest lead of the half (24-8) when Waters escaped a double team near the sideline and dribbled for a layup, Mullins went coast-to-coast after yanking a defensive round and Waters made one-of-two from the line.

Sterlington carried a 25-10 lead into halftime and twice went up by 18, 28-10 and 33-15.

Bastrop showed signs of getting back into the game late in the third quarter, using a 9-0 spurt to climb within 33-24. Sterlington missed eight straight free throws during that span.

Cynthia Washington started the run by cleaning up the offensive glass and Williams finished on the break. Kennedy accounted for the next five points on a 3-pointer and a pair of free throws to bring the Lady Rams within 33-24 at the end of the quarter.

Reasserting itself at the start of the fourth quarter, Sterlington reeled off nine straight points.

Stewart had a hand in the first five points, setting up Madeline Rogers from point-blank range, and converting an & 1. Two free throws by Mullins and Waters' open 16-footer off of a Rogers assist increased the difference to 42-24 with 5:14 to play.

Bastrop was never closer than the final margin.

"I really felt good going in. We were coming off a big win over Richwood," said Guillaume, whose team won a 51-50 nailbiter over Richwood on Thursday. "They got frustrated because the shots weren't falling, but they hung in there and didn't quit, which is a good thing. I just have to be patient and keep on teaching. I feel like they are going to come along."

Sterlington finished the tournament 3-0.

"We had played our way into shape, but we took such a long break," Crumpler said. "We came back with three games in three days. Our kids got tired, but they gutted it out. (Starting guard) Ashleigh Davis wasn't feeling well, but Bri (Logan) and McKenzie (Gray) came in and gave us some good minutes, which was huge."

Waters scored 14 of her game-high 19 points in the first half and Mullins achieved a double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Stewart chipped in six points with two each by Rogers and Logan. Rogers grabbed 14 rebounds to go with four assists, both team-highs.

Kennedy had 12 points for the Lady Rams, followed by Williams with seven, Cynthia Washington with six, Destiny Cephas with four, Mia Hardin with three and Tiffany Washington and Johnson with two.

Both teams return to the court Tuesday. Sterlington (12-8) opens a three-game road swing at Caldwell, while Bastrop (4-10) is at home vs. Carroll.