Parish players help all-star team finish national runner-up

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The North Louisiana-based Louisiana Lightning, a high school all-star team featuring two players from Bossier Parish, finished runner-up in the Premier Basketball Super 64 National Championship tournament held July 6-8 in Frisco, Texas.

Benton rising junior Emily Ward and Plain Dealing rising senior Teunna Perry play for the Lightning. Ward was the MVP on the 2017 All-Parish team and Perry was a first-team selection.

The Lightning compete in several showcase tournaments during the summer. Lightning coach Kenny Carswell said the Frisco event is one of the toughest.

The Lightning won five games before falling to a team from Minnesota in the championship game.

“All in all, the girls played very tough throughout the weekend and left it all on the court, and I couldn’t be prouder of them,” Carswell said in an email message.

ABOVE: Emily Ward helped the Louisiana Lightning finish runner-up in the Super 64 National Championship tournament earlier this month in Frisco, Texas. The North Louisiana-based Louisiana Lightning high school all-star team. Standing, left to right: Assistant coach Christopher (Roc) Williams, assistant coach Raymond Edgerson, Mohogani Williams (Ouachita HS), Sheniqua Coatney (Southwood HS), Teunna Perry (Plain Dealing HS), Emily Ward (Benton HS), Chelsea Johnson (Loyola College Prep), Bria Broughton (Ouachita HS), Tiara Young  (Evangel Christian Academy), Deborah Ford (BTW HS) Kaylie Mitchell (Southwood HS), assistant coach Sherry Carswell, head coach Kenny Carswell. Kneeling: Bre’nay Durant (Pineville HS), Ah’Million Cosby (Southwood HS), Mikayla Etienne (Ouachita HS), Makayia Hallmon (Red River HS), D’Azia Walker (Ouachita HS), Sha’Kahia Warmsley.

Evangel’s Tiara Young and Red River’s Makayia Hallmon led the Lightning in scoring. Southwood’s Sheniqua Coatney and Loyola’s Chelsea Johnson were the top rebounders.

“Emily Ward had another solid all-around game performance throughout the weekend,” Carswell said.

The Lightning opened the tournament with a 55-27 victory over the Jets from Dallas. They followed that with a 52-25 win over a team from Memphis, Tenn.

The Lightning’s third opponent was a team from Denver that featured a 6-foot-1 player whom Carswell said was the first player in Denver high school girls basketball to dunk during a game.

The Lightning held her to six points and won 51-37.

In the quarterfinals, the Lightning pulled out a 51-49 victory over Dallas-based Triumph.

“This team was very fast and had crafty guards,” Carswell said. “The game was close throughout and a very tough battle.”

Carswell said a 58-40 victory over Platinum in the semifinals was the Lightning’s best game of the tournament.

The Minnesota Fury defeated the Lightning in the title game.

“We ran into a buzzsaw, a really good team that ran their offense to perfection with lots of ball movement, movement without the ball, and three-point shooting,” Carswell said.

“We, on the other hand, picked the wrong time to go cold shooting the ball and did not defend very well.  We were fighting an uphill battle the whole game and could never get their lead to single digits.  We lost by twenty, but the game was much closer than the score indicated.”

The Lightning’s final tournament of the summer is the Adidas Nationals July 27-29 in Atlanta.