The girls Catholic League title had resided in River Ridge for the last three years coming into the 2019-20 season, and that number now stands at four after Monday night.
John Curtis secured yet another District 9-5A championship ousting Mt. Carmel, 54-30, at home on senior night for the Patriots.
Fittingly, it was a senior leading the way with Tulane signee Jerkaila Jordan nearly outscoring the Cubs all by herself with a 29-point performance. The 5-foot-9 guard also added seven steals, five rebounds and two assists to her stat line in one of her final games on the Patriots’ home floor.
“It felt good getting a win on senior night knowing this is one of my last few home games playing with this team that we have,” Jordan said.
“This one felt good because we played them close last time,” added the Patriots’ only other senior Jane Wright referencing Curtis’ 38-33 victory over MCA on January 16. “It was good to get a comfortable win.”
And comfortable it was as Curtis (20-3, 5-0) outscored Mt. Carmel (21-7, 4-2) by at least seven points in the first, second and fourth quarters while tying them 9-9 in the third.
There was really never any doubt about the outcome Monday night against the district’s second-place team, which also ranks second in the latest LHSAA power rankings behind Curtis.
It was the Patriots’ ninth consecutive victory of the season as they appear to be hitting their stride as just the right time with five games left in the season, but don’t tell that to coach Barbara Farris even after her team just locked up its fourth straight district championship.
“(District) is always (a goal) and I don’t underestimate or minimize any opponent,” Farris began. “Anytime we’re on the court it’s an opportunity for us to get better — that’s what we say.
“We can get better at getting those loose balls which we’re not doing very well. We need to do better defending the wing pick-and-roll. We need to do a better job moving our feet and getting around bigger interior players because we’re undersized. We can do better being more patient in our half court offense. Every game is an opportunity for us to work on us.”
As detailed by Farris, there’s no such thing as resting on laurels for the Patriots, which likely isn’t good news for the rest of the Division I as Curtis pursues its fourth straight championship.
They appear to be the clear favorite once again in what will be an 8-team bracket when the playoffs tip off later this month. Much of that is due in large part to the skill and leadership of Jordan, who took a few moments to reflect on her time with the Patriots.
“I can really say from my freshman year to right now I’ve developed a lot,” said the 3-time Most Outstanding Player in Division I. “Not so much as a basketball player but just as a person overall. I’ve learned a lot from coach Barbara, I learned from everybody and I’m glad for that.”
“You never realize how good you have it until they’re gone,” Farris said of both Jordan and Wright. “Jerkaila and Jane have brought so much to this program and they’re both 3-time defending state champs.
“Hopefully we’re finding our form with their guidance and leadership in this second half (of the season).”
The Patriots wrap up district play Thursday at Chapelle at 6 p.m. before wrapping up the regular season versus Cabrini (Feb. 8), at Salmen (Feb. 11), at Booker T. Washington (Feb. 13) and versus Ursuline (Feb. 15).
Mt. Carmel’s final contest of the regular season will be at home against University Lab on Monday at 5:30 p.m.
SCORE BY QUARTERS
Mt. Carmel | 7 | 6 | 9 | 8 – 30
John Curtis | 14 | 16 | 9 | 15 – 54
Mt. Carmel: Rebecca Quick, 9; Taylor Wilkins, 8; Miranda Strassel, 4; Amelia Troutman, 2; Taylor Haggard, 2; Bailey Schexnaildre, 2; Addison Prince, 2.
John Curtis: Jerkaila Jordan, 29; Alexis Lavarine, 8; Jane Wright, 4; Kiara Mangenello, 3; Jordan Barfield, 2; Jania Holmes, 2; Terren Coffil, 2; Hailey Schreiber, 2; Heaven Jordan, 2.