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Falcons down the Sharks 64-50 to advance to the LHSAA Division III Quarterfinals!

By Jim Henderson

HAMMOND, LA—The Saint Thomas Aquinas Falcon Basketball team played their first playoff game after drawing a opening round bye in the Select Division III bracket. The Falcons enter the postseason as a No. 5 seed and defeated No. 12 the Mentorship Academy Sharks 64-50 in a regional playoff contest played at a jammed packed STA gym. The Falcons were led by the one-two punch of seniors Dylan McAlister and Kohen Rowbatham as each poured in 21 points apiece to lead STA offense.
    “This was a real good win for us,” said Saint Thomas coach Ramone Andrews. “They (Mentorship) got a decent record and can compete, but we showed up and played. Not happy how we finished, but did a good job in the first three quarters to get the win. We got a lot of good guards that can push the ball and that’s our game. We want to play fast because this leads to layups and open threes.”
    Saint Thomas began the game using its transition offense to score points. Rowbatham delivered on a pair of fast break layup shots to jump out to a 6-2 lead. McAlister added a jump shot and then Rowbatham delivered the first of his 3-point goals to give the Falcons a 11-3 advantage with 4:53 left to play in the first quarter. The visiting Sharks cut the deficit to 17-9 at the end of the first quarter.
    Saint Thomas began the second period maintained its lead outscoring Mentorship 11-4 in the quarter. Mentorship tried to slow down the pace by playing a zone defense against the Falcons. However, Rowbatham scored on a back-door layup and then later hit his second 3-point goal to begin a scoring surge. McAlister made another layup off a stolen pass and then Brady Mendez and Cace Reed each scored on mid-range jump shots that gave STA a 28-13 lead at halftime.
    Saint Thomas extended its lead in the third quarter. The Falcons went on a 8-1 run to make it 38-14 as McAlister made a three-point play the old fashion way, Rowbatham scored on a put-back basket and Kendrell Perry delivered on a pair of back-to-back 3-point goals. Saint Thomas ended the period outgunning Mentorship by a 22-18 margin to make it 50-31 heading into the fourth quarter.
    The Sharks were able to trade baskets with STA in the fourth period. But the Falcons kept its double-digit lead as McAlister scored nine of his 21 points in the fourth quarter. Mentorship scored a trio of baskets with 2:29 remaining to play to cut the STA lead to 64-50. The Sharks ended the game outscoring Saint Thomas 19-16 in the fourth quarter.
    Perry added nine points on two 3-point goals. Cace Reed netted five and Brady Mendez scored four points. Kaiden Dennis and Cooper Duhon each had two points apiece for the Falcons.
    “This was a tough one,” said Mentorship coach Jordan Plain. “We fought hard, but we just have to execute better. Defensively, we went with a 2-3 zone to try to slow down the pace, but we we're not able to matchup to stop them. On offense we just got to execute better.”
    Next up for Saint Thomas will be another home date in a quarterfinal playoff against No. 13 Episcopal, who upset No. 4 Calvary Baptist. Tipoff is slated for Friday at 6:30 p.m. A win over the Knights will propel the Falcons to the Marsh Madness Final Four State Tournament to be held at Burton Coliseum on the campus of McNeese State University in Lake Charles, LA.
    “We played Episcopal once already and they are a good team,” Andrews said. “They got to be a good team to knock off the No. 4 seed and so we got to come to play. So, we’ll see them on Friday."

Lady Falcons impress but come up just short in LHSAA Division III Semi-finals.

By Jim Henderson

HAMMOND, LA—The Saint Thomas Aquinas Lady Falcon Basketball team reached a pinnacle where nobody expected them to be after qualifying a birth into the LHSAA Marsh Madness Girls State Tournament at the University Center on the campus on Southeastern Louisiana University. Saint Thomas battled the University High Lady Cubs of Baton Rouge in a semifinal matchup in the Select Division III playoff bracket. The No. 9 seeded Lady Falcons gave U-High all it could handle for much of the game, but the No. 4 seeded Lady Cubs (24-11) pulled out the win late in the fourth quarter securing a 50-42 win and will advance to the Division III Championship game against No. 2 Parkview Baptist.
    Saint Thomas broke away to begin the game from a 4-4 tie to go on a 9-0 scoring surge that was spearhead by sophomore forward Payton Rowbatham, who scored on three jump shots in transition. Senior guard Sydney Gill added a three-point goal and junior Betsy Geisler finished the period with a basket as the first quarter buzzer sounded giving the Lady Falcons a 16-5 lead. However, the Lady Cubs regrouped at the beginning of the second period going on a 7-0 run to cut the deficit to 16-12 with 7:12 left to play in the first half. Following a Saint Thomas time out, the Lady Falcons maintained its lead getting buckets from junior Catherine Lamonte on a base line jumper and a layup off a stolen pass by Rowbatham to make it 20-14.
    U-High countered with its full-court pressure defense forcing the Lady Falcons into turnovers that turned into transition baskets. The Lady Cubs went on a 8-2 run tying the contest at 22-22. Saint Thomas answered with a 3-pointer by Rowbatham and another buzzer beater on a running jump shot by Lamonte gave STA a 27-24 advantage at halftime despite being outscored 19-11 in the second quarter.
    The Lady Cubs came out hot to begin the third quarter delivering on three straight jump shots. U-High went on a 8-1 run to make it 33-27 forcing the Lady Falcons to call a time out with 2:31 left to play in the period. The Lady Cubs built their lead to 39-30 and finished the quarter outgunning STA by a 15-3 margin heading into the final period.
    The Lady Falcons began chipping away the deficit in the opening moments of the fourth quarter. Baskets by sophomore Kaitlynn Barton and Rowbatham spearheaded a 10-3 run by Saint Thomas. The Lady Falcons would tie it at 42-42 with 2:36 remaining to play after a fast break basket by Rowbatham. Saint Thomas had two possessions where they could of taken the lead, but the shots would not fall. U-High closed out the game scoring the next eight points to seal the 50-42 win.
    “I am extremely proud of this group of players,” said Saint Thomas coach Amber Donnes. “We’ve battled through alot of adversity through the course of the season. I was blessed with three great seniors who were willing to do what was needed.”
    Saint Thomas began the state playoffs defeating Saint Charles Catholic in the first round and then knocked off a tough Isidore Newman team on the road in a regional playoff. The Lady Falcons then upset the No. 1 seed the Dunham School in Baton Rouge in a quarterfinal playoff to reach the semifinals. “Throughout this playoff run, the only word that comes to my mind is just being proud of the accomplishment of reaching the State Tournament.” Donnes said. “We hate the outcome of this semifinal loss. We had a dry spell in the third quarter and we’re not able to recover. We did not box out and could only get one shot at the basket. They created momentum off of their press and that led to them being more aggressive. That kind of crumbled us.”
    Rowbatham led Saint Thomas with 17 points, seven rebounds and two steals. Gill finished with seven points and two assists and Lamonte scored six. Barton netted four points and led the team with 14 rebounds. Geisler ended with five and Luciana Martello had three points for the Lady Falcons. Saint Thomas saw its season end with a 14-14 record.
Lady Falcons roll past the Saint Charles Lady Comets 62-26 to advance to the second round of the Division III LHSAA State Playoffs.

By Jim Henderson

HAMMOND, LA—The Saint Thomas Aquinas Lady Falcon Basketball team began the postseason on a winning note after capturing a convincing 62-26 victory over the St. Charles-Catholic Lady Comets in a Division III Select bi-district contest played at the STA gym. Saint Thomas, who was seeded No. 9 in the Division III playoff bracket, will advance to play at No. 8 Isidore Newman School in New Orleans (10-12) on Monday, Feb. 19.
    The Lady Falcons started slow to open the game in the first quarter trailing 7-3 in the early moments, but rallied late in the period and outscored the Lady Comets by double-digits in the next three quarters to seal the win. “A win at home in the first-round of the playoffs——I’m very pleased on how this team showed up and ended up with a win so I’m a happy coach tonight,” said Saint Thomas coach Amber Donnes. “We stepped up and executed even though we did not have our starting point guard. Across the board, Lamonte, Rowbatham and Geisler each stepped up for us both on offense and defense.”
    Saint Charles-Catholic jumped out to a 7-3 first quarter lead. However, Catherine Lamonte of the Lady Falcons scored on a layup shot and then nailed a 3-point goal to give Saint Thomas its first lead of the game at 10-7 with 4:02 left to play in the period. A free throw by Mary Bujol ended the first period with the Lady Falcons leading 14-10. The second quarter saw Payton Rowbatham of Saint Thomas score a pair of 3-point goals that started a 10-0 run. A put-back basket by Kaitlynn Barton made it 20-10 with 5:56 left to play in the first half. A fast-break layup by Kendriyan Simms gave Saint Thomas made it 26-10. Barton and Luciana Martello each added baskets from mid-range to give Saint Thomas a 33-14 advantage. The Lady Falcons outgunned Saint Charles-Catholic 19-4 in the second quarter.
    Saint Thomas began the third period on a 9-0 run as to make it 44-14 before the Lady Comets scored on a 3-point goal with 3:15 left to play in the quarter. Lamonte spearheaded the scoring surge getting baskets on a pair of layup shots and a three point play the old fashion way. The game officials let the clock run the rest of the way after Rowbatham scored on a layup shot off a steal to make it 56-17. The Lady falcons outscored Saint Charles-Catholic 23-6 in the third period. Both teams scored six points apiece in the fourth quarter to make the final score 62-26.
    The Lady Falcons had a balanced attack with four players scoring in double figures. Simms led STA with 16 points, followed by Rowbatham with 15, including three 3-point goals. Catherine Lamonte added 14 and Kaitlynn Barton added 10 points. Luciana Martello netted three and Mary Bujol and Betsy Geisler each had two points apiece.
    “I'm happy that we were able to get a home game,” added Donnes. “So, playing tonight we were able to get into a flow and not sit around on drawing a bye because the more we sit the worst off we are. All I know about Newman is that their athletic and tall. But all I am focused on us. We are going to get back to practice and hope for the best on the road.”
    “It was a long season,” said Saint Charles-Catholic coach Jeff Vitrano. “We played really hard here in the first quarter and held a small lead, but we kind of ran out of gas and our inexperience kind of turned the game around for them (Saint Thomas) and it was too much of a hole to dig out from.” The Lady Comets, who were the No. 24 seed, ended its season with a 6-22 record. “We had a team full of sophomores,” Vitrano said. “We need help on the rebounding front, but we are going to learn from all of our experiences this season. We’ll look forward to next year and keep pushing.”
Lady Falcons dominate Northlake!

HAMMOND, LA—The Saint Thomas Aquinas Lady Falcon Basketball team captured a key 52-43 District 7-2A victory over the Northlake Christian Lady Wolverines on Senior Night. The win improves the Lady Falcons to 3-2 in league play and dropped Northlake to 2-3. Saint Thomas moves into third place in the District 7-2A standings and a win over St. Helena on Thursday clinches the third place. spot. French Settlement and Springfield will battle to determine the league championship on Friday.
    Saint Thomas can clinch its chances of hosting a home playoff game next week with a win over St. Helena in the regular season finale. Playoff pairings for Non-select teams in all divisions will be announced by the LHSAA on Monday, Feb. 12.
    Against Northlake, the Lady Falcons used its pressing defense that forced the Lady Wolverines into numerous turnovers. STA outgunned the Lady Wolverines by double-digits in the first half. The Lady Wolverines battled back and got to within nine points in the fourth quarter, but the Lady Falcons had too much of a lead for Northlake to overcome.
    “We did a good job moving and executing our offense,” said STA coach Amber Donnes. “Our team is preparing for the state playoffs. I am happy for our seniors with the win especially on Senior Night.”
    aint Thomas moved out toa 9-3 first quarter lead after senior Sydney Gill nailed a 3-point goal with 2:15 left to play in the period. The Lady Falcons ended the first quarter on a 7-3 run after buckets were made by Kendriyan Simms and Kaitlynn Barton on a pair of layup shots. Gill made 3-point play the old fashion way with a layup and foul shot that made it 16-5 heading into the second period. Saint Thomas went on a 11-4 run to begin the second quarter. Payton Rowbatham began the scoring surge with a layup shot off a stolen pass. Catherine Lamonte added another layup off a steal. A 3-point shot by Kaitlynn Barton made it 30-9 at the half. Saint Thomas outgunned the Lady Wolverines 16-4 in the second quarter.
    Rowbatham began the third quarter with a 3-point goal and senior Mary Bujol scored on a put-back basket to begin the third quarter. Gill scored her third 3-point goal of the game with 2:08 left in the period to make it 42-16 heading into the final quarter. Coach Donnes began substituting her starters in the fourth period. Northlake went on a 9-2 run to cut into the deficit. The Lady Wolverines ended up outscoring STA 24-10 to get to within nine points with less than a minute remaining. However, the Lady Falcons maintained its advantage the rest of the way as Mackenzie Hall and Bailey Jackson each scored on put-back baskets.
    “First of all I commend Saint Thomas. They came out and were ready to play,“ said Northlake coach Clarence Holloway. “We came out a little flat and could not get enough scoring. But we kept battling so I‘m proud of them at the very end. We may have another chance in the playoffs to play them again in the way our power points are working out.”
    Saint Thomas was led by Gill with 13 points, including three 3-point goals. Rowbatham followed with seven and Lamonte, Simms, Barton and Luciana Martello with five points apiece. Bailey Jackson and Mary Bujol each netted four points and Betsy Geisler finished with two points.
Falcons roll Indy as girls and boys notch wins!

INDEPENDENCE, LA—The Saint Thomas Aquinas Falcon boys and girls basketball teams each came out victorious after defeating the Independence Tigers in a District 7-2A encounter. The Lady Falcons registered a 62-17 win, while the boys defeated the Tigers 70-34.
    Saint Thomas took command early by jumping out to a 27-5 first quarter lead and then outscored the Lady Tigers 11-6 in the second period to take a 38-11 advantage at the half. Saint Thomas maintained its lead throughout the second half outgunning Indy 12-4 in the third quarter and 12-2 in the fourth period to make the final score 62-17.
    Kaitlynn Barton and Kendriyan Simms each led Saint Thomas pouring 12 points apiece. Payton Rowbatham followed with 10 and Sydney Gill added seven points. Carlea Gill netted six and Betsy Geisler, Payten Silewicz and Bailey Jackson each score three points apiece. Mackenzie Hall, Mary Bujol and Luciana Martello each had two points apiece.
    “Honestly, like whenever we get a team win like that, sharing the ball and being selfness that’s all I can ask from them,” said STA coach Amber Donnes. “I was really pleased with the effort of our second group. I tried not to play our starters too much because we have big game Friday. We moved the ball around on offense and played well.”
    The Lady Falcons improved to 2-1 in league play. Saint Thomas will play at French Settlement on Friday in a key District contest. “I see a good solid team in French Settlement,” said Donnes, “We’re going to play them at their place so you got to expect a good crowd. We just got to get back in the gym and have two days of good practices and focus on French Settlement. We are going to be battle tested so I'm excited about it.”
    The Falcons moved out to a 36-12 first quarter lead and then outscored the Tigers 21-12 in the second period to take a 57-24 lead at halftime crusing the rest of the way for their third league win.
    Kendrell Perry led STA with 23 points, including three 3-point goals. Cohen Rowbatham followed with nne and Cace Reed added eight points. Dylan McAlister netted seven and Cooper Dyhon has six points, including two 3-point goals. Grant Forrest, Gavin Oalman and Brady Mendez each had five points apiece. Luke Lambert had four points. Hunter Bambel and Josh Carballo each had two points apiece for Saint Thomas.
    “We came off a tough stretch against Liberty and Zachary,” said STA coach Ramone Andrews. “So, tonight it was not as tough game for us, but we needed to get our rhythm back to get ready for French Settlement. They got a good team and can shoot the ball well. It is good that we got our young guys to play tonight because they don’t get a lot of varsity minutes because we go about eight deep. This will be good test for us playing against French settlement and it should help us to get ready for the state playoffs.”
Lady Falcons even their district mark to 1-1 with 56-21 win over Pope John Paul II.

SLIDELL, LA—The St. Thomas Aquinas Lady Falcon Basketball team picked up their first District 7-2A victory of the season after defeating the Pope John Paul Lady Jaguars 56-21 in Slidell. The win evened the Lady Falcons league record to 1-1 in district and 8-12 overall while Pope John Paul dropped to 0-1 in league play and 6-9 overall.
    Saint Thomas saw the Lady Jaguars jump out to a 9-0 first quarter lead. But the Lady Falcons rallied as Payton Rowbatham nailed a pair of 3-point goals and Kendriyan Simms delivered on a pair of baskets in the paint. Saint Thomas went on a 11-0 scoring run to take a 11-9 lead heading into the second quarter.
    “We’re struggling right now starting off the first quarter,” said STA coach Amber Donnes. “I don’t know if it has to do with an experience things or lack of focus, but we turned it on when we needed to. It might be a coaching thing on what starting five we going to have to come out and be ready, but we just can't have that lack of focus to begin any game.”
    he Lady Falcons turned up the notch to begin the second period by going on a 11-4 run. Rowbatham led the surge delivering a pair of three-point goals. Sydney Gill added another 3-pointer and Simms nine of her 17 points in the quarter. Saint Thomas outgunned Pope John Paul 24-7 in the quarter to take a commanding 35-16 advantage at halftime.
    In the third quarter, Simms scored on pair of put-back baskets to build the STA lead to 39-20 prompting a Lady Jaguar timeout with 4:14 left to play in the period. Gill scored a 3-pointer from the wing following the timeout and then Rowbatham scored on a layup off a stolen pass to give the Lady Falcons a 44-20 edge heading into the fourth quarter. Saint Thomas outscored the Lady Jaguars by a 9-3 margin in the period to margin.
    In the fourth quarter, Simms went coast-to-coast off a steal to score on a break-away layup shot. Later Rowbatham nailed her fifth 3-pointer of the game to give the Lady Falcons a 49-20 lead with 6:02 remaining to play in the game. The Saint Thomas defense kept Pope from penetrating to the basket knocking the ball away. Gill and Simms scored fast-break baskets off Pope John Paul turnovers. Payten Silewicz ended the Lady Falcons scoring with a 3-pointer from the wing to make the final score 56-21. STA outscored the Lady Jaguars 12-1 in the fourth perio
    Rowbatham led the Lady Falcons with 21 points, followed by Simms with 17 and Gill added 10 points. Luciana Martello netted five and Silewicz finished with three points.
    “Any win right now is a great win,” added Donnes. “We brought the energy and I thought the girls were excited about this one and now we have to flip the switch and be ready for Breaux Bridge on Thursday.”
Second half surge lifts Falcons over the Wolves!

LORANGER, LA—The Loranger Wolves tested the Falcons early in the contest taking a pair of leads but a big second half surge lifted Saint Thomas to a solid 67-50 win. The Falcons were led by Kohen Rowbatham, who poured in a season-high 36 points, including three 3-point goals.
    Rowbatham put Saint Thomas up 6-0 to begin the game nailing a 3-point goals and scoring in the paint on a layup shot. The Wolves battled back and went ahead for the first time at 8-7 when senior forward Joc Bonds scored on a layup and a put-back basket with 1:09 left to play in the first period. Later Bonds delivered on a mid-range bucket and Za'Coryn Bryant scored on a jump shot in the lane to give Loranger a 15-11 edge at the end of the period. Saint Thomas answered to start the second period with Rowbatham driving into the lane for a layup basket and then another layup on a back-door cut to the hoop to make it 15-15.
    Senior Dylan McAllister scored on a fast break layup off a steal by Cace Reed to tie the game at 19-19. Senior Kendrell Perry gave the Falcons back the lead on a wing 3-pointer to make it 22-19 prompting a Loranger time out. Reed made another steal and then made a pass to a streaking Rowbatham for a layup to extend the Falcon lead to 26-19. The Wolves cut into the deficit with baskets by Preston Rogers and Tucker Duhe to end the half trailing 28-23. Saint Thomas outscored Loranger 17-8 in the second quarter.
    Rowbatham began the third quarter scoring a mid-range shot and a 3-point bucket to give the Falcons a 3023 lead. Rowbatham scored on an old fashion three-point play nailing a mid-range basket and free throw to give STA its largest lead at 42-30 with 2:17 left to play in the period.
    The Wolves cut the deficit to 44-39 after a 3-pointer by Jaylon Matthews and a mid-range jump shot from Scott Covert. However, the Falcons outgunned Loranger 19-16 in the quarter to maintain a 47-29 advantage heading into the fourth period. Rowbatham began the fourth quarter with his third 3-point goal to make it 50-39. Saint Thomas went on a 11-4 run to make it 60-43 after a layup shot by Kaiden Davis with 3:21 left to play. Rowbatham made another 3-point play which was followed by a basket on the left wing that gave STA a 65-47 lead before Falcon coach Raymone Andrews pulled his starters off the floor with 1:30 left to play in the game.
    The Falcons finished the fourth period outscoring Loranger 20-11 to improve to 11-7 on the season. “We're just kind of building for the state playoffs,” said STA coach Ramone Andrews. “I loved the environment that we played in here at Loranger. It’s something we need to get used too especially with their pep band that kind of gave us some motivation. We are going to get battle tested with games against Denham Springs, Zachary coming up.”
    Rowbatham carried the scoring load with 36 points. Kendrell Perry followed with 11 and Kaiden Dennis added 10 points. McCalister netted four and Reed ended with three points. Hunter Gambel scored two points for the Falcons.
    Loranger was led by Joc Bonds with 15, followed by Preston Rogers with 10 and Ashton Brunise added eight points. Scott Covert and Za'Coryn Bryant each had six points apiece and Jaylon Matthew ended with five points for the Wolves who dropped to 4-9 on the season.
    “Saint Thomas is a rival game for us. Our boys get fired up and so do our fans,” said Loranger coach Dustin Easley. “I can’t say win or lose. It is how you lose. For three quarters we played pretty good basketball. However, our turnovers we committed gave them momentum. Our comprehension of the game and understanding the game has been pretty difficult for us.”
    “This was probably one of the best games we have played,” Easley added. “We have played a tough schedule so far and this type of game is something we can build on. I’m proud of the way we hustled and competed. Saint Thomas could of easily beat us by 30-plus points. I’m more proud of this loss than actually some of our wins this season.”
January busiest time of the year ...

HAMMOND, LA—Fasten your seat belts life will move fast in January on the sports calendar. Soccer, basketball, power-lifting, and the start softball and baseball practice and early scrimmages are all     packed into the month of January. The new year is loaded and for Falcon Nation there are plenty of home games especially in the sport of soccer. The ladies with host six matches and the boys three as soccer season heats up moving into district play. Hoops will serve up six home games with the boys and girls each with three on the slate. The bats and gloves will come out at the end of the month as softball and baseball prepare for scrimmages and Jamborees in the first week of February ... and by the way this year February has 29 days so another day for sports.
Lady Falcons outlast Loranger!
Saint Thomas and Loranger trade blows for four periods as the Lady Falcons get a 40-32 win.

by Jim Henderson

HAMMOND, LA—In a contest that saw mutiple lead changes the Saint Thomas Aquinas Lady Falcon Basketball team captured its third victory of the season after defeating the Loranger Lady Wolves 40-32 in a non-district battle played at the STA gym.
    The Lady Falcons jumped out to a double-digit lead in the first period only to see Loranger rally back in the second quarter to take a four-point halftime lead. STA outgunned the Lady Wolves in both the third and fourth quarters to secure the eight-point victory. The win improved Saint Thomas to 3-10 on the season while Loranger fell to 3-8.
    “I thought we have been pushed with a lot of adversity with all of our injuries to key players,” said STA first-year coach Amber Donnes. “The girls haven't responded well in the past, but I’m really proud of this bunch. They worked through, pulled through, fought through to get this win tonight. So, I am a happy coach today.”
    Saint Thomas kept Loranger off the scoreboard in the early moments of the first quarter. The Lady Falcons were sparked by the outside shooting of sophomore guard Payton Rowbatham, who nailed two three-point goals to put STA up at 6-0. Later she scored on a mid-range jump shot and hit another three-point bucket to make it 11-0. A layup shot by Sydney Gill gave the Lady Falcons a 13-0 edge before Loranger got on the scoreboard. Kenli Reid of the Lady Wolves scored on a layup shot that cut the deficit to 13-2. Sassy Pope scored on a pair of freethrows to end the first period with Loranger trailing 13-4.
    The Lady Wolves went on a 7-0 run to begin the second quarter. Pope hit a mid-range jump shot from the win and then Skylar Ford delivered a layup shot. A three-point basket by Pope and another layup by Ford tied the contest at 13-13 with 5:59 left to play in the first half. The Lady Wolves took their first lead when Pope scored on a put-back basket and Isabel Miller sank a 3-pointer from the corner to give Loranger a 20-16 lead at the half.
    St. Thomas answered by going on a 9-0 scoring surge to begin the third quarter. Highlighting the scoring run was Gill scoring on a fast-break layup and then Kaitlynn Barton added a pair of layup shots to give STA a 25-21 advantage with 3:44 remaining in the period. A three-point goal by Gill and a layup shot off a fast break by Gill have the Lady Falcons a 30-26 lead heading into the final quarter. St. Thomas outscored the Lady Wolves 14-6 in the period. The Lady Wolves got to within 32-30 after a layup shot by Paityn Ackerman, but the Lady Falcons maintained the lead outscoring Loranger 10-6 in the fourth quarter to secure the win.
    “We want to have a high-intense offense and work the ball inside and that’s what we established tonight,” Donnes said. “We started attacking and pushed the ball up the floor and played tough defense. We got a lot of things to cleanup, but overall I’m pleased with the win and how our girls played.”
    Rowbatham led the Lady Falcons with 17 points, including four 3-point goals. Gill followed with 13 and Barton added four points. Luciana Martello, Kendriyan Simms and Betsy Geisler each netted two points apiece for St. Thomas. The Lady Wolves were led by Sassy Pope with 10, followed by Paityn Ackerman and Skylar Ford with six apiece and Kenli Reid and Isabel Miller each added five points apiece.
    Loranger won the JV contest by a 35-26 score. The Lady Falcons will participate in the Saint Joseph's Tournament in Baton Rouge on Dec. 28-29. Meanwhile the Lady Wolves will play in the ANHH Tournament Dec. 21-23.
Bickford boots Falcons into LHSAA Regional Playoff Round!!!
Saint Thomas rallies to defeats league rival Northlake 36-35.

by Jim Henderson

COVINGTON, LA—The Saint Thomas Aquinas Football team advanced into the regional round of the select Division III state playoffs after defeating District 7-2A rival Northlake Christian Wolverines for the second time this season by a 36-35 score. The win was sealed on the foot of senior Jonathan Bickford who with quick thinking salvaged a mishandled snap kicking the ball as it lay flat on the ground through the uprights.
    “Jonathan Bickford is the best kicker in the state of Louisiana,” Mulhern said. “He is a young man who has the talent and ability to be able to come through for you. That’s not the first time he has come through for us.”
    The win puts the No. 19 seeded Falcons (6-5) against the No. 3 Isidore Newman Greenies (8-1) in a regional playoff on Friday in New Orleans. The winner advances to the quarterfinal round and will play the winner between No. 11 Episcopal and No. 6 Bunkie on November 24. The 14-seeded Wolverines ended its season with a 7-3 mark.
    The contest was played with a light drizzle that limited the passing game. So running the football was the featured highlight for both sides. Saint Thomas only attempted two passes throughout the game and never did punt the football.
    “They (players)see what happened tonight but it's really months and months of a story that creates the ability to do that,” said Falcon coach Shane Mulhern in referring to its come-from-behind win. “I am so proud of these kids. It is the way they bought into what were trying to accomplish. We just did our job and executed. We played with a lot of passion and heart. That was a team win.”
    Northlake jumped out to a 16-15 first quarter lead, but the Falcons outscored the Wolverines 14-6 in the second period to take a 29-22 advantage at halftime. Northlake rallied in the third quarter to tie the contest at 29-29 in the fourth period. Northlake moved ahead with a touchdown score to make it 35-29. However, the Falcons scored in the final minutes of the game to tie it at 35-35. Bickford added his heroics to make it 36-35 with just 38 seconds left to play. With no timeouts remaining, Northlake reached the STA 35-yard line before time expired sealing the victory.
    Northlake Christian got on the scoreboard first in the opening quarter. The Wolverines mounted a seven-play, 68-yard drive that ended with running back Kameron Casnave scoring the first of his five touchdowns on a 11-yard run. The two-point conversion score was successful giving Northlake a 8-0 lead with 8:26 left to play in the period. After the ensuing kickoff, the Falcons answered with a three-play, 68-yard drive that was capped by a 25-yard touchdown run by Cace Reed. Bickford kicked the PAT and STA trailed 8-7 with 7:26 remaining in the quarter.
    Northlake responded quickly scoring on the first play of their next possession on a 45-yard touchdown run by Casnave. The two-point conversion was successful making ti 16-7 with under seven minutes left to play in the period. Saint Thomas closed cut the deficit again with a 10-play, 75-yard drive that was culminated by a one-yard touchdown run by quarterback Justin Domiano. Kendrell Perry of the Falcons ran in for the two-point conversion score and STA trailed 16-15 heading into the second quarter.
    Northlake coughed up the football on its next series and Braeden Bovie recovered the ball for the Falcons at the Wolverine 37. Four plays later, Perry scored on a 38-yard touchdown run going untouched into the end zone. Reed ran in for the two-point conversion score that put Saint Thomas ahead for the first time at 21-16 with 11:47 left to play in the first half.
    he Wolverines gave the ball up on downs on its next possession and STA took over at the Falcon 47. St. Thomas marched 53 yards on five plays for its next score when Domiano went in on a six-yard touchdown run. Bickford's PAT attempt was blocked, but STA put 22 unanswered points on the scoreboard to make it 29-16. Northlake managed to score just before halftime on an eight-play, 66-yard drive with Casnave ending the drive with a 13-yard touchdown run. The two-conversion failed leaving the score 29-22 at halftime.
    Saint Thomas fumbled the second half kickoff and Northlake recovered the ball at the Falcon 30. Two plays later, the Wolverines scored on a 15-yard touchdown run by Casnave. The PAT attempt was successful and the contest was tied at 29-29 with 11:11 left to play in the third quarter. Saint Thomas tried to respond with a 10-play drive reaching the Northlake 19. But instead of kicking a field goal, the Falcons went for it on fourth-and-4 but failed to convert giving the football up on downs. Northlake.
    Saint Thomas threatened again on its next series reaching the Wolverine 38. The drive stalled and Bickford was call on for a 48-yard field goal attempt. The snap from center was mishandled and the attempt was was blocked. Northlake took possession on downs and scored on a 59-yard drive that ended with a Casnave three-yard touchdown run to give the Wolverines a 35-29 edge with 3:09 remaining to play in the game.
    Following the kickoff, the Falcons engineered an eight-play drive that was capped by a three-yard touchdown run by Perry. Bickford's heroics on the PAT was successful giving STA a narrow 36-35 lead with 38 seconds left to play.
    Saint Thomas amassed 407 yards of total offense. The Falcons had 395 yards rushing and 12 yards passing. Perry led the way with 184 yards on 15 carries. Cace Reed added 121 yards on 12 attempts. Northlake racked up 338 yards of total offense. The Wolverines had 304 yards rushing and 34 passing yards. Casnave gained 222 yards on 25 attempts. Saint Thomas will travel to New Orleans and play host Newman on Friday, Nov. 17. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

Falcons dominate Springfield!
Saint Thomas defeats district rival Springfield 51-8.

by Jim Henderson

HAMMOND, LA—The Saint Thomas Aquinas Falcon Football team captured a 51-8 victory over the Springfield Bulldogs in a District 7-2A contest played at Pete Valenti Field. It was the regular season finale for both teams. The win improved Saint Thomas to 5-5 overall and 3-2 in District play finishing in a three-way tie for second in the league standings. The Falcons were ranked 19th in the latest Class 2A power ratings entering the game. St. Thomas won their final three games of the regular season and won five of their last seven games.
    “It was a great team win,” said STA coach Shane Mulhern. “The execution the kids displayed is what were looking for at this time of the year. I’m proud of our seniors tonight. They really played well against a hard working Springfield football team.”
    The Falcons waisted no time getting on the scoreboard. After Case Reed returned the opening kickoff to midfield. Running back Kohen Rowbatham went around the right end and scampered 48 yards for a touchdown. Jonathan Bickford kicked the PAT to give Saint Thomas a 7-0 lead with 11:04 left to play in the first quarter. Springfield tried to answer on its first possession marching down to the Falcon 15-yard line. But the Saint Thomas defense stiffened and the Bulldogs turned the ball over on downs after an incomplete pass on fourth-and -10 situation.
    On the very next play, Rowbatham broke loose and rambled 48 yards to the Bulldog 39-yard line. Two plays later, the Falcons added another score. Bickford added the PAT to make it 14-0 with 3:36 left in the period. The scoring drive covered 85-yards in five plays. Springfield went three-and-out on its next series. The Falcons mounted a six-play, 64-yard drive that was capped by a 52-yard touchdown run by Case Reed. Bickford booted the PAT to give Saint Thomas a 21-0 lead with 11:51 left to play in the first half.
    Springfield responded with a drive that covered 48-yards in two plays ending with a 36-yard touchdown pass play. The two-point conversion was successful and the Bulldogs cut the deficit to 21-8 with 11:07 left in the half.
    After the ensuing kickoff, the Falcons engineered a 11-play drive reaching the Springfield 10-yard line. But a holding penalty backed up the Falcons forcing a field goal attempt by Bickford from 30-yards out that was wide to the right of the upright leaving the score 21-8 with 5:29 left in the half. The Bulldogs took over on downs and mounted 13-play drive reaching the Falcon 10. But the Falcon defense came up with a big play when cornerback Jermaine Spencer intercepted a Springfield pass attempt in the end zone for a touchback ending the scoring threat and the first half of play.
    In the third quarter, the Bulldogs threw another pass interception when safety Justin Domiano picked off the pass attempt and returned it 18-yards to the Springfield 41. On the very next play, running back Kendrell Perry went off-tackle and scored on a 41-yard touchdown run. Bickford missed the PAT leaving the score 27-8 with 10:54 left to play in the period.
    Domiano intercepted another Springfield pass attempt at the 25 and returned the ball to the Falcon 35. A late hit penalty on the Bulldogs moved the ball to the Springfield 49 giving the Falcons field position. Saint Thomas needed just five plays to score as Perry broke two tackles at the line of scrimmage and scored on a 27-yard touchdown run. Bickford kicked the PAT to make it 34-6 with 6:09 remaining in the quarter.
    The Bulldogs went three-and-out on its next possession forcing a punt. The Falcons took possession at the Bulldog 35 after a shanked punt. The Falcons added to their lead four plays later when Bickford nailed a 44-yard field goal to increase the Saint Thomas lead to 37-8 with 3:30 left in the period.
    The Falcon defense held Springfield on downs taking over possession at the Bulldog 34. On the very next play, Reed went around the left end for a 34-yard touchdown run. Bickford added the PAT to give STA a 44-8 lead with 10:48 left to play in the game.
    Saint Thomas would add one more score in the time remaining. The Falcons intercepted a Springfield pass when Perry picked off the ball and returned it to the Bulldog 30. On the very next play, running back Kaiden Dennis went up the middle and bounced outside for a 23-yard touchdown run. Case Reed kicked the PAT to make the final score 51-8.
    Saint Thomas defense caused havoc against the Springfield offense intercepting their quarterback four times. “Our defense is playing harder than ever,” added Mulhern. “I’m proud of how our defense is evolving as we get ready for playoffs. We’'ll see what happens Sunday. The team is eager to see where we will be seeded.”


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