Heartbreaking end in state semifinals for Arcadia Lady Hornets

By Doug Ireland

The introduction of the ABC Wide World of Sports TV show years ago mentioned “the thrill of victory, and the agony of defeat.”

The Arcadia Lady Hornets basketball team experienced both sensations, only a few seconds apart, Monday afternoon in Hammond.

Arcadia made a tie-breaking basket with nine seconds to play, then was shocked on a buzzer-beating, off the backboard 3-point shot, falling 47-46 to Oakdale in a state Division IV Non-Select semifinal of the 2023 Ochsner LHSAA Girls Basketball Marsh Madness tournament in Hammond.

In an extremely competitive battle, Arcadia got a baseline jumper from DeAsia Alexander with nine seconds left to take a 46-44 lead.

Oakdale hurried upcourt, getting the ball to Emani Young, who drove from the backcourt up the right side and fired her desperation effort from 24 feet away. Her shot, almost a heave, kicked off the glass and dropped through the net at the final buzzer for the shocking win.

Young took 19 shots. She made only five. But she did go 7-for-7 on the free throw line, and snagged 10 rebounds to go with her team-high 18 points for Oakdale (17-12), the ninth-seed in the playoff bracket. The Lady Warriors were a dangerous foe, having whipped No. 1 seed White Castle 54-31 in the quarterfinals on the road.

Arcadia, the No. 4 seed, was led by Alexander with 16 points and seven blocked shots while playing every second of the game.

Justice Young scored 12 points and grabbed a game-best 14 rebounds for the Lady Hornets, who got eight points from Demetria McCune and seven by Ja’Kyria Cockerham.

Arcadia moved on top 14-10 after one quarter. Oakdale rallied for a 22-all halftime tie, and went up 38-34 going to the fourth quarter. But Arcadia fought back to bring the game’s outcome down to the final seconds.

The Lady Hornets brought the ball upcourt and moved it inside-out before Alexander took a nice pass on the left baseline and swished the go-ahead basket with nine seconds left. Unfortunately, that wound up being one second too many.

The Lady Hornets shot better from the floor than the Lady Warriors, hitting 41 percent to just 28 percent. In the fourth quarter, Arcadia made half its eight shots from the field, while Oakdale sank only four of 13.

Oakdale had an overall 39-38 rebounding edge. Free throw aim was the advantage that kept Oakdale in the game: the Lady Warriors made 14 of 18 – none in the final quarter — while the Lady Hornets connected on just six of 19 tries from the line and just four of 12 in the final eight minutes.

It was a bitter end to a brilliant season for Arcadia, which finished with a 23-8 record.

Oakdale will meet Lakeview, the No. 2 seed, Friday at noon in the state championship game.

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