GRAY – The Thibodaux High girls basketball team clicked on all cylinders in the second half of Tuesday night’s District 7-5A battle with H.L. Bourgeois.

The Lady Tigers outscored the Lady Braves 32-13 over the final two quarters, en route to a 59-36 victory.

Bren’naisa Adams led Thibodaux with 15 points, along nine points from Kayland Jones.

J’sa McGuire and Malaysha Walls led H.L. Bourgeois with 12 and 11 points, respectively.

“We had a little lull in that second quarter. We needed to pick it up in the second half,” Lady Tigers coach Ashley Adams said. “I told them at halftime play like we’ve been playing all year and get our rhythm back together. They did what they needed to do to pull out a win.”

“First half, more than pleased. Second half, we let little things get under our skin, undermine our confidence, and we began to shut down,” Lady Braves coach Michael Melancon said. “We didn’t complete the task. We were down by four at halftime, and we come out in the third quarter like we’re down 15. Young girls.”

Thibodaux (12-5 overall, 2-1 district) sprinted to an early 14-4 advantage by pounding the ball inside. Adams scored six points during the burst, while Destiny Batiste (eight points) added four.

H.L. Bourgeois (5-10, 1-2 district) got hot from the perimeter to claw back in the game. Nashalie Dominguez nailed a 3-pointer from wing, while Kirsten McGuire drained a pair of 3-pointers to pull the Lady Braves with 19-17.

Adams answered with five straight, including a three-point play, to push Thibodaux’s lead to seven points. J’sa McGuire’s corner three sparked six straight points to get H.L. Bourgeois within 24-23. However, the waning seconds of the first half, Ja’mya Holmes was fouled on a layup for a three-point play, giving Thibodaux a 27-23 lead at intermission.

“We started off the game strong as far as getting easy buckets in transition and getting the ball inside,” Adams said. “Then we hit a little lull, missing easy shots, easy layups. Those shots came in the second half, and we finished them like we needed to.”

“I’ve been beating my head the whole year trying to get these girls to move the ball around and take good open shots, not just the first shot,” Melancon said. “We got lucky on a couple of threes that kept us in the game early. But we never really got the offense moving because we were impatient.”

Thibodaux’s defense forced H.L. Bourgeois into numerous bad shots and turnovers in the second half. Meanwhile, the Lady Tigers offense scored off transition baskets and offensive rebounds.

Thibodaux produced runs of eight unanswered points with a Brea Richard (eight points) three-point play sandwiched in between to go up 46-30. In the fourth quarter, they added an 11-0 burst, capped by a Sasha Jones three-point play, to put the game out of hand.

“The only adjustment we made was to bring more energy to the court,” Adams said. “Just because a team hits a few shots doesn’t mean we’re going to change our identity. We made sure we knew where the shooters are and hustled hard to contest shots. That’s what we needed to get out of our rut, get back into our rhythm and get going.”

“We lacked leadership. Our girls didn’t want to work hard enough to stay in the game and compete to the last second,” Melancon said. “Rebounding has been hurting us. Girls don’t want to put a body on somebody. They just want to try and jump above everybody. It puts us in bad positions for rebounds, and they get second, third and fourth shots on us.”

This early in the district schedule both coaches see lots of room for improvement.

“If we play a complete game, we should be able to compete with any team in our district,” Melancon said. “We have to play a complete game to the end if we ever want win a game again in district.”

“We have to continue to get better every game, keep our chemistry going and take every game as a learning experience,” Adams said. “Work on what we need to compete in district and get to the playoffs.”

TUESDAY’S AREA GIRLS BASKETBALL CAPSULE

EAST ST. JOHN 79, CENTRAL LAOURCHE 22 (at Reserve, District 7-5A game)

Score by quarter: East St. John led 21-9 after the first quarter, 54-13 at halftime and 71-20 at the end of the third quarter.

Records: East St. John (13-6 overall, 2-0 in district); Central Lafourche (11-10 overall, 0-2 in district)

TUESDAY’S AREA BOYS BASKETBALL CAPSULE

EAST ST. JOHN 66, CENTRAL LAOURCHE 58 (at Reserve, District 7-5A game)

Records: East St. John (11-7 overall, 1-0 in district); Central Lafourche (9-6 overall, 0-1 in district)

--Compiled by sports writer Kelly McElroy.