Team returns to Sweet 16 after four-year absence
By Tom Dodge
LEBEAU - She kept her promise.
North Central senior Donisha Durrisseau promised her team before the season started that she would get the Lady Hurricanes back to the Sweet 16.
Photo by David Gremillion
North Central's Brittni Rue dives for a loose ball in Thursday's playoff game against Southern Lab.
Durrisseau scored 24 points to lead the Lady Hurricanes to a 52-47 win over Southern Lab on Thursday night and sealed North Central's second trip to the big dance, the first since 2002.
"It feels great," the excited senior said as her team celebrated at midcourt. "I said I would, and I stuck to my promise that we would get there. And Sweet 16 here we come."
Durrisseau said she was not going to lose in her final home game and her teammates rallied around her.
"There is no I in team," she said. "It took the whole team to win."
Early on, the game seemed to ride with the more experienced team as Southern Lab held leads at the end of the first and second quarters.
But the Lady Hurricanes were not to be denied as North Central rallied to grab the thrilling win.
The Kittens were attempting to continue their tradition of making it to the big dance, while the Lady Hurricanes were fighting for a little respect.
And when it was over, North Central had respect and a win.
After losing to White Castle (46-42) in the opening round of the 2001 playoffs, Southern Lab won three straight state titles - in 2002 (a 69-39 win over Arcadia), 2003 (70-55 win over Plain Dealing) and 2004 (a 67-57 win over Plain Dealing).
Southern Lab fell in the quarterfinals last year to Vermilion Catholic (52-32) and their goal was to get back to the Sweet 16 for the eighth time.
After North Central lost in the 2001 regionals to St. Martin's (48-42), the Lady Hurricanes advanced to the Sweet 16 the next year, but fell 74-32 to eventual Class 2A champion St. Frederick.
In 2003, the Lady Hurricanes were knocked out in the first round in a 63-56 loss to South Beauregard.
The following year, North Central was pushed out in the Class 2-A regionals by St. Thomas Aquinas (84-57) and the Lady Hurricanes fell again in the second round with a 69-37 defeat to Iota 69-37 last year.
The Sweet 16 will be held Feb. 27 - March 4 at Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond.
Originally published February 24, 2006