The Benton Lady Tigers and Parkway Lady Panthers advanced to the second round of the Class 5A girls basketball playoffs Sunday with victories at home.
Defending state champion Benton, the No. 12 seed, rallied from a three-point halftime deficit to defeat No. 21 Natchitoches Central 60-55.
Parkway, the No. 4 seed, rolled past No. 29 Live Oak 70-25.
Airline’s season came to an end on the road. The No. 25 seed Lady Vikings fell to No. 8 Hahnville 76-50.
Plain Dealing (7-9), the No. 13 seed, hosts No. 20 Arcadia (5-12) in a Class 1A first-round game Monday at 4 p.m.
At Benton, balanced scoring helped the Lady Tigers come out on top in a tight battle.
Jada Anderson led the team with 14 points. Ella Kate Malley and Riley Grace Stanford scored 13 each. Marissa Schoth added eight.
Benton led 12-8 after a quarter. But Natchitoches Central started raining 3s in the second quarter. The Lady Chiefs hit five from long range and grabbed a 26-23 halftime lead.
Schoth scored all eight of her points in the first half.
The Lady Tigers rallied in the third and the game was tied at 37 going into the fourth. It was still tied at with just under four minutes to play. But Benton finished strong to get the victory.
Stanford, Malley and Stewart all stepped up on the offensive end in the second half.
Stanford sank two 3-pointers and scored all 13 of her points. Malley scored nine and Stewart seven.
Anderson had five points in the fourth quarter. She was 8-of-13 from the free throw line in the game.
The Lady Tigers withstood a 23-point outburst by Natchitoches Central’s Nia Hardison. She scored 14 in the second half.
Tyrenisha Bowers added 19 points for the Lady Chiefs, who finished the season 11-9.
Benton (14-6) visits No. 5 Mandeville (19-5) on Tuesday at 6 in the second round. The Lady Skippers defeated No. 28 West Ouachita 66-43 in the first round.
At Parkway, the Lady Panthers jumped out to an 18-4 first-quarter lead and extended it to 36-12 at the half. Aniya Russell sparked the fast start with eight points in the first quarter.
Sh’Diamond McKnight scored 10 of her team-high 19 in the first half. Mikaylah Williams scored 10 of her 15.
Nine Lady Panthers scored in the game. Ty’lissa Henderson added nine and Bianca Oliver eight.
Parkway (17-3) will host District 1-5A foe Southwood (23-8), the No. 13 seed, at 6 Tuesday in the second round. The Lady Cowboys defeated No. 20 Southside 66-19 in the first round.
Parkway defeated Southwood 81-66 on Jan. 8 at Parkway.
At Hahnville, Airline hung with the Lady Tigers early, leading 14-13 after a quarter. Up 16-15 early in the second, Hahnville took control with a 20-0 run.
Kori Rice and Toria Brocks led the Lady Vikings with 20 and 16 points, respectively.
Rice also had seven rebounds. Brocks had four rebounds and four assists.
Airline finished 13-15. Hahnville (17-3) hosts No. 9 Ruston in the second round.
— Featured photo by Jeff Thomas