NCHS girls fall in state quarterfinals, Lakeview advances to Marsh Madness

INSURMOUNTABLE: Natchitoches Central’s season ended Thursday night with a loss to powerful Parkway. (Photo by PRESTON EDWARDS, Journal Sports)

There was no surprise Thursday night for either parish team in the quarterfinal round of the LHSAA girls’ basketball playoffs, which was great news for Lakeview High School and unfortunate for Natchitoches Central.

Lakeview, the No. 2 seed in Division IV Non-Select, edged visiting East Beauregard 58-55. The Lady Gators advance to play in Hammond next week in the state semifinals, at a day and time to be announced this weekend, against third-seeded Oak Grove, which won 35-26 over LaSalle in its quarterfinal.

The big news in that bracket was the upset by No. 9 Oakdale, eliminating top-seeded White Castle 51-34 on the road. Oakdale will meet No. 4 Arcadia in the other Division IV semifinal, leaving Lakeview as the highest remaining seed to advance to Marsh Madness.

In Bossier City Thursday night, the powerhouse Parkway Lady Panthers asserted their dominance, overwhelming the Lady Chiefs of Natchitoches Central 58-24 before a packed crowd at Parkway’s gym (aka “The Cage”). 

It was unsurprising since Parkway had easily beaten NCHS, the district runner-up, in both regular-season meetings.

All-American senior guard Mikaylah Williams scored a game high of 19 (15 in the second half) as Parkway answered the bell early (and often), taking control almost immediately. Williams is the daughter of former NSU Lady Demon LaTonya Perry.

Natchitoches Central took a brief 3-2 lead following a 3-pointer by sophomore Akeelah Wade, Parkway kept up the offensive pressure. After an Ambree Williams layup, the first quarter belonged to Mekanna Miles.

The Lady Chiefs’ box-and-1 on sharpshooter Chloe Larry did not rotate to the corners and that is where Miles made them pay.  Her 11 first-quarter points included three straight 3-point shots that pushed the Parkway lead to 13 (19-6) at the end of one.  The lead grew to 33-13.

After halftime, it appeared that Natchitoches Central was trading shots on the offensive end while changing defenses on the other. The changing defenses, however, allowed Williams, an LSU signee, to settle in and score 11 points in the third.  By the end of the quarter, the game was pretty much out of reach. 

Williams (19), Miles (17) and Larry (13) were top guns for the Lady Panthers while Wade had a team-high 11 for the Lady Chiefs. 

Parkway (28-5) will move on to face third-seeded Barbe next week at Marsh Madness in Hammond. 

Natchitoches Central finished the season with a record of 24-10 and another deep playoff run from one of the state’s traditionally-tough girls’ basketball programs.

  • Reporting on the NCHS-Parkway game by Preston Edwards, Shreveport-Bossier Journal