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Contributing Writer

Look for the Northwest High girls’ basketball team to make a fashion statement wearing new t-shirts.

“I’ll probably have some shirts made which says, “Five-Peat,” said Raiders’ head basketball coach Nicole Manuel.

That certainly would be appropriate. 

The Raiders last weekend defeated North Central (63-41) for a fifth St. Landry Parish Basketball Tournament title under Manuel.

Northwest entered the tournament as the third seed behind No. 1 North Central and second seed Opelousas. In order to capture the tournament championship, Northwest had to beat both Opelousas and North Central.

Manuel said she wasn’t surprised her third-seeded team performed so convincingly.

“We weren’t the number one seed, but that’s usually how it happens. The girls came into the tournament and played hard. What we did is what we always want to do. That’s play defense,” Manuel said after the championship game.

Manuel said the Raiders used a man-to-man defense in the title contest.

That strategy evidently proved effective.

North Central entered the tournament with seniors Ya’Jaia Goudeau and Katelyn Harrison, two of the leading parish scorers.

In the championship game, Goudeau scored 20, but Harrison was limited to one field goal.

Despite the defensive emphasis, Northwest also featured some efficient offensive scoring. Many of those points were recorded from offensive rebounding.

Mashayla Lazard scored 24 against Northwest. Makaylen Savoy added 17 and Raven Celestine had 20.   

 In addition to the inside presence, Northwest sank nine three-point shots, with Savoy and Lazard each sinking four.

North Central trailed in the championship game (34-23) at halftime but the Hurricanes were unable to reduce the deficit during the final two periods.

Lazard helped keep Northwest in front, scoring half of the Raiders’ 16 third quarter points.

In the fourth quarter Northwest iced the win with an 11-7 run.