The Lakeview Lady Gators have made an incredible run this season, and it all came down to their third round matchup against 5-seed Avoyelles Public Charter. Charter, the 3-seed last season, was upset in the third round last year, so they were coming with a vengeance. This game started with Charter getting inside and going up for a layup. Timberly Washington, District Defensive MVP, did what she does best and ripped the ball from the opposition on their next drive and threw a no look pass to Jameisha Fisher under the goal for two.
Charter get a fast break score to go, but on the next Lady Gator play Saniyah Marshall was positioned under the goal to get a rebound and put back for two. Charter got an and-1 to fall on their next play, followed by a 1-for-2 trip to the free throw line. Washington scored the next six points for the Lady Gators, converting two and-1’s for Lakeview. Every basket Lakeview made in the first quarter, Charter countered. Lakeview was down 21-12 at the end of the first.
The second quarter began with Charter knocking down a jump shot. Jameisha Fisher made the first three of the game on the next play. Charter countered with back to back fast breaks, but Jameisha was there on the next play to get a steal and be wide open on the other end of the court for two. The momentum continued to be back and forth for the remainder of the second quarter. That was until Zenobia Poydras scored six straight inside to help close the gap at halftime, as Lakeview only trailed 31-25.
As Coach Dewaski Fuller brought his team out of the locker room for the second half, they came with some heat. It began with Janaiya Fisher hitting her signature midrange jumper at the elbow, followed by a three from Washington. Charter controlled the game for the next couple minutes, but were only able to convert that to four points. Poydras got back inside for another two in the paint.
Charter countered with a layup, but the last two minutes of the third quarter belonged to Lakeview. Down nine, the team quickly chopped away at that lead, until finally, Trinity Browder hit a free throw with 10 seconds remaining in the third to tie it up 41-41 heading into the final quarter. It was back and forth the entire quarter, both teams playing great defense, and any bucket allowed was made up on the next play. Charter pulled away in the final minute.
They led by 6 with 30 seconds remaining. Jameisha Fisher came down the court and knocked down a three to cut it in half. The inbound after the three was stolen by Janaiya Fisher who went up for a layup to cut the lead to just one with 24 seconds left. Charter was fouled, and missed both free throws, but got the rebound as Lakeview failed to box out. Charter made one and that was all it took.
The Lakeview Lady Gators walked off the court for the final time, losing their first game since Dec. 30, with a score of 54-56. Though this incredible season came to a sad end, there is nothing this team should hang their heads about.
A final record of 20-4, undefeated District Champs, the 4-seed in Class 2A and all of this while their starting backcourt was two eighth graders. The future of this team is brighter than anyone in the state, and if I was a betting man, I’d put all my money in that these young women will bring back a Top 28 banner next year, and possibly a state title.