North Central earns 1st round playoff win
Coach says team needs to improve on 'ugly' play
By George Hollier
LEBEAU - North Central coach Vanessa Taylor has been around long enough to know what the term "winning ugly" means.
Taylor thought her team's 60-39 victory over Dunham in a Class 1A bi-district playoff game Thursday certainly qualified as such.
"We played horrible," Taylor stated flatly. "I don't know how many turnovers we had, but we just played horrible."
Taylor hunted for answers afterwards, attributing part of the squad's sluggishness to Dunham having taken the Lady Canes out of their game plan.
She also said the week-long layoff before beginning the playoffs might have affected her squad.
"Whatever it is, we've got to play better," Taylor said. The Lady Canes will likely host the winner of today's Hamilton Christian versus Block contest at 6 p.m. Monday.
Daraneisha Joseph led North Central with 14 points, while Appollonia Chambers tallied 13, Tasha Tanner contributed 11 and Donisha Duruisseau notched 10.
Leigh Myers scored 13 to lead Dunham, while Rachel Clary added 10 to the Lady Tigers' ledger.
North Central (26-2) and Dunham (8-15) battled to a 10-10 tie after the first eight minutes as Clary's 3-pointer knotted the score with 45 seconds to go in the period.
The sharp-shooting junior collected half her team's points in the first period, as the scrappy visitors from Baton Rouge clawed their way back into the contest with five unanswered points after falling behind 10-5.
But Chambers took matters into her own hands a minute and half into the second stanza, canning a trey that gave the Lady Canes a 14-10 lead.
Daraneisha Joseph followed it with a deuce to give North Central its largest margin in the early going, as the home team started on an 8-0 run.
Chambers helped her team pull even further ahead, making the best of an appearance at the stripe and adding a lay-up moments later to give the Lady Canes a 24-12 lead.
After holding their guests to only four second period points, North Central exited the floor with a 30-14 halftime advantage.
The Lady Canes were even less hospitable to their guests in the second half, scoring early and often in strutting to a 53-26 lead by the third period's end.
"We just didn't play well enough to win," said Dunham coach Chris Gardner. "We made too many ball-handling mistakes, didn't really defend well, especially around the goal.
"When you don't guard the post and you don't take care of the basketball it is tough to win on the road in an environment like this. But we're young - we only graduate one - so, hopefully we can learn from this experience and go a little bit further next year," Gardner offered.
Originally published February 17, 2006