HAMMOND — A sluggish start to the second half proved to be too much to overcome.

HAMMOND — A sluggish start to the second half proved to be too much to overcome.

After leading by two at the break, the third-seeded Anacoco Lady Indians watched Florien put together a 17-0 run to open the second half as the top-ranked Lady Blackcats won their first state championship since 1994, claiming a 53-38 victory over Anacoco in the Class B finals on Friday at the University Center on the campus of Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond.

“I'm super proud of my girls,” Anacoco head coach Michele Goins said. “It's been a great season for us. We just dug ourselves a hole in the second half we couldn't get out of. Florien has a tremendous ball club and I have the utmost respect for that program.”

With the victory, Florien finished the season with a mark of 40-2, winning their first state title since 1994, breaking a 23-year drought for veteran head coach DeWain Strother, the only coach in the history of the Lady Blackcat basketball program. Prior to Friday, he had five state titles to his credit.

“It has been a while,” he said. “But I have a great group of girls who love to play the game. We battle quite often with Anacoco since they are just a few miles away from us. They have a great club and Coach Goins has a lot to be proud of.”

With the loss, Anacoco finished the season with a record of 26-8. This was also the first time in the history of the program the Lady Indians had lost in the state finals, previously having a record of 9-0.

The Lady Blackcats jumped out to a quick 9-2 lead and seemed poised to take over the game early on. However, back-to-back 3-pointers from Whitney Goins, along with a triple from Cammy Hooks, allowed the Lady Indians to tie things up at 11-11.

Florien junior Aja Law gave the Lady Blackcats the lead at 13-11 with just over a minute to go in the first period. Anacoco had a couple of chances to tie the score or take the lead before the end of the frame, but the Lady Blackcats held the lead after one.

The Lady Indians took their first lead of the game on a 3-pointer from Goins just 40 seconds into the second period, but Florien battled back to take a 5-point cushion, 21-16, on a free throw by Kendra Richardson.

However, Anacoco battled back to tie things up at 21 before Allie Haymon sank a pair of free throws with no time on the clock to give the Lady Indians the lead at the halftime intermission, 23-21.

But beginning with a steal and layup by Morgan Miller, the Lady Blackcats quickly came to life. A jumper and free throw from Aja Law, the game's MVP, and a 3-pointer by Richardson saw Florien open up a 29-23 cushion.

Eventually, the lead grew to 38-23 on a layup by Kylee Strother before Hooks drilled a 3-pointer to stop the 17-0 run.

By the end of the frame, Anacoco had managed to trim the gap to 10 points, going into the final frame of regulation down, 40-30.

But that would be as close as the Lady Indians would be the remainder of the game as the Lady Blackcats picked up the big win.

Law led Florien with 20 points, 17 rebounds and three blocked shots, while Strother, starting in place of senior MaCayla Miller, scored nine points and grabbed three rebounds. Richardson and Miller finished with eight points each.

Goins paced Anacoco with 18 points, seven rebounds and three blocked shots, while Hooks finished with 12 points, six rebounds and a steal.