HOUSTON

What once looked like a blowout for heavily-favored North Forest turned out to be a game of survival for the Bulldogs on Tuesday night as La Marque forced them to make all 32 minutes matter.

Trailing by 22 in the third quarter, the Cougars pushed the state-ranked Bulldogs to the limit before finally falling 65-59 in a girls Class 4A, Region III bi-district round game at Barnett Fieldhouse.

“We fought to the finish, but we just couldn’t get over the hump,” said La Marque coach Andrew Broussard. “Once we got locked into our style of play, we were able to get back into the game.”

The problem for the Cougars (7-14) was a slow start that allowed North Forest (27-4) to score the game’s first 13 points and take a 20-2 lead after the first quarter. La Marque missed their first 11 shots and committed 10 fouls that combined to put them in an early hole.

Shaking off their early doldrums, the Coogs got within 14 late in the first half before Satoya Shelley scored seven of her 17 points in the closing minutes before intermission to give North Forest a 33-13 halftime lead that swelled to 35-13 in the first 30 seconds of the third.

It was there when La Marque clawed back, outscoring North Forest, 23-13, in the quarter to push within 47-36. Behind a balanced effort, the Coogs were able to get within 61-55 in the final 20 seconds before Sasha Goody scored the last of her game-high 31 points to secure the win for the Bulldogs.

“This is fuel to the fire,” said Broussard of his team, which won only two games last season and returned all but one player for the 2019-20 season.

Jermonika Morris and Krishana Boyd led La Marque with 10 points. D’Armynie Campbell had nine, Sadie McKinney had eight, Iyana Moore had six, Katriel Ivy had five, while C’rystal Curry, Katlin Ivy and LaRin Taylor had four points each.

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