So close: Lafayette High gets the last shot, but Mikaylah Williams’ 33 points propel Parkway 55-54 | high schools

Whenever second-seeded Parkway needed a field goal, he turned to his star junior. And she delivered.

Mikaylah Williams scored 33 points — 11 in the fourth quarter — to propel Parkway to a 55-54 win over No. 3 Lafayette High in a Class 5A semifinal Thursday night at Hammond University Center.

Lafayette High (26-5) had a chance to win, but Jahniya Brown’s 15-foot base jumper failed at the buzzer. Brown had a team-high 19 points. The win puts Parkway in an LHSAA title match for the first time against Thursday night’s Walker-Ponchatoula winner.

“The game plan was to go out and compete and I feel like my players did that tonight,” Lions coach Tarunye Kanonu said. “It was a tight match and we played really hard. Parkway is a very good team. Mikaylah is an awesome player. She showed what she is capable of today. I still can’t be more proud of the girls.

There were four draws and four lead changes in the fourth quarter. No team trailed by more than five points all night.

Williams hit a 3-pointer to give Parkway a 48-46 lead with 3:15 left. Grace Paul’s three-point play gave Lafayette High the lead on the Lions’ next possession.

Williams hit another 3-pointer for a 53-50 lead for the Panthers with 1:40 left. After a defensive save, Aniya Russell was fouled and hit two free throws to extend Parkway’s lead to 55-50 with 57.2 seconds left.

The Lions scored a quick field goal and earned a steal that led to Breyioncé George’s layup to cut the deficit to 55-54.

“We are happy to be here,” Parkway coach Gloria Williams said. “We are delighted to continue playing. It was a great coaching job from the Lafayette coach.

“Their kids, they’ve played phenomenally. We haven’t played that well, but when you can still get the ‘W’ and not play so well and learn from those mistakes, that’s what we expect with impatience.”

Parkway returned the ball 23 times. Lafayette High finished with 17 gifts.

Lafayette High star Chrysta Narcisse was tasked with guarding Williams for most of the night. Narcisse struggled with fouls in the fourth quarter and finished with eight points and four fouls.

“It was (something I was looking forward to),” Narcisse said of Williams’ guard. “There is a lot of influence around her. Upon entering the game, you hear that you are playing against the No. 1 player in the country. You just have to try to control it because good players will score, just try to limit them.

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