The Parkway Lady Panthers are one victory away from the first basketball state championship in school history.
Parkway, the No. 2 seed, won a 55-54 nailbiter over No. 3 Lafayette in the Class 5A semifinals Thursday evening at the Southeastern Louisiana University Center in Hammond.
Parkway (33-3) will play No. 4 Ponchatoula (34-2), a 68-59 winner over No. 1 Walker, for the title at 8 p.m. Saturday.
Parkway defeated Ponchatoula 60-35 in the West Monroe tournament on Dec. 27.
The game was tight all the way. The Lady Panthers took a 55-50 lead on two bog free thr by Aniya Russell with about a minute to play,
The Lady Lions quickly made it 55-52 with a pair of free throws. After forcing a turnover, Lafayette hit two more free throws to cut the lead to one.
Another Parkway turnover with 19 seconds left gave Lafayette a chance to win it. But the Lady Lions couldn’t get a shot off against the Lady Panthers defense, twice calling time outs.
With 2 seconds left, the Lady Lions took the ball out on the side of the court on their end. After getting the ball inbounds, they got off a one-handed shot from about 12 feet away.
Parkway’s Ty’lissa Henderson got a hand up and the shot fell short.
Parkway junior Mikaylah Williams once again showed why she is one of the nation’s best players.
She scored 33 points. Williams was 11-of-17 from the field and 8-of-9 from the free throw line. She also had a game-high nine rebounds.
Williams was 3-of-3 from behind the arc. The last two couldn’t have come at a better time.
Her second 3 gave Parkway a 48-46 lead with 3:3@ left. The third broke a 50-50 tie with 1:39 left.
Williams also had a driving layup in between the 3s that put Parkway ahead 50-49.
While Williams did the bulk of the scoring, her teammates certainly contributed to the victory.
Henderson had three steals and six points.
Chloe Larry had five rebounds and five points.
Savannah Wilson had five points and two steals. Makenna Miles had a big rebound late in the game and scored four points.
Jahnya Brown led Lafayette (29-5) with 19 points. Chrysta Narcisse, the team’s top scorer on the season, had eight points and finished with four fouls.