PA Lady Pels

The Port Allen Lady Pelicans are one step closer to making history.

With a 52-38 win over The Church Academy Lady Crusaders Friday night in the second round of the District 8-2A tournament, Port Allen is one win away from its first district championship in 36 years.

"We started kind of slow and then I think we settled down," Port Allen head coach Kim Cox said after the win Friday night. "I think we were a little nervous because it was a big stage, important game. They settled into the game and we came out with the win."

Church Academy jumped out to a 10-2 lead thanks in large part to a couple of threes early on and the Lady Crusaders led 14-6 midway through the first quarter.

Braylah Pierson's layup with two minutes left in the first quarter sparked an 8-0 Port Allen run capped by Mya Lee's 3-pointer that gave the Lady Pelicans their first lead of the game at 16-14 with 6:54 left in the first half.

Lee drilled a three later in the quarter that gave Port Allen a 23-18 advantage. The Lady Pelicans went into halftime with a six-point lead.

Port Allen outscored TCA 7-2 out of the break following another Pierson bucket that gave her team a 33-22 lead.

Port Allen led 38-29 at the end of three quarters and led by as many as 16 in the fourth. Each time the Lady Crusaders looked to make a run, the Lady Pelicans responded.

"Just being able to get a lead and hold a lead is important," Cox said. "At the beginning of the season, it was hard for us to do that. As the season went on, we grew from all of those tournaments, playing Glen Oaks, West Fel (Feliciana) and French Settlement. We've just learned from our mistakes and we're ready for the big stage right now it seems like."

Pierson scored 17 of her 23 points in the second half. She attributed her aggressiveness in the second half to a message from her coach at halftime.

"At halftime, coach told me I had to pick it up," Pierson said.

Chelsey White finished with a triple-double with 15 points, 12 rebounds and 10 blocks. Lee hit three 3-pointers on the way to a nine-point night.

Standing in Port Allen's way of history is the Dunham Lady Tigers, who defeated Episcopal 26-23 in the other semifinal matchup.

"We have to keep playing with the momentum we're playing with," Cox stated. "We can't start games slow like that though. We gotta play four solid quarters. We gotta keep this momentum and it's going to be a grind. We're looking forward to it."

The championship matchup is set for 2 p.m. at Episcopal.

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