LAKE CHARLES – Hicks overcame a sluggish start to earn a shot at a state title for the second year in a row.
Behind 30 points from forward Lauren Quinn, the No.2 Lady Pirates defeated Ebarb 76-19 Wednesday afternoon at Burton Coliseum.
Hicks takes on No. 4 Plainview in the Class C State Championship game Friday at 4 p.m. in Lake Charles. The Lady Pirates won the Class B title last year before dropping to Class C this year.
“The first day I told them that the biggest opponent you’re going to have is yourself,” Hicks head coach Mike Charrier said. “Each time you brush your teeth, that’s your biggest opponent this year. If you don't achieve what you set out to achieve, you can blame yourself. That’s the weight that they carry, and it really keeps them motivated and humble.”
The Lady Pirate defense was suffocating, holding Ebarb to just six made field goals and picked up 23 steals.
Hicks struggled from the field early, missing layups and open jumpers, and Ebarb led 6-5 midway through the first quarter.
After a layup by Avery Coffman to give Hicks the lead, Quinn hit a layup and ended the quarter on an 8-0 run to make it 14-5 at the end of the period.
"I knew that we had a slow start and I didn’t want to start this playoff year like that,” Quinn said. “Once I saw that we were doing that, I said ‘let’s go. Let's pick it up.’ I just grabbed everybody and got them onboard.”
A 3 by Chloe Wilbanks extended the Lady Pirate lead to 21-10 at the 4:30 mark of the second quarter, and Hicks led 32-13 at the break.
In the second half, Hicks put the clamps down on defense, allowing just one Ebarb field goal in the final two quarters – a 3 with 1:17 to play in the fourth.
"We knew we had to be aggressive pressuring the ball handlers,” Wilbanks said. “We knew that we would be nervous, so it all started on defense for us.”
The standout defense led to easy transition shots, and Hicks extended its lead to 59-16 after the third quarter. The backups took advantage of the a lot of second half minutes with 11 players recording points for the Lady Pirates.
"It was huge,” Charrier said about his whole team getting involved. “They’ve worked as hard as anyone. That’s what makes our program special. No matter where you are at on the totem pole, you have something to contribute. What was exciting was that Lauren (Quinn) said “Coach, I’d rather just sit here and watch them play because that’s fun.’ We like to challenge our girls to not miss a chance to contribute, no matter what level or game we are in.”
Quinn finished with a double-double – 30 points and 15 rebounds – and Wilbanks added 14 points in the win.
"I never really think I’m going to dominate,” Quinn said. “Whatever happens, happens. My first shot went in, and I was feeling good. The second shot went in and it’s OK. I feel like it’s a team thing. We all have the mindset that we have something to prove.”