State title and undefeated in 1995-996
by Joey Martin - posted Thursday, January 31st, 2013 @ 8:34 am
It's hard to beat a high school state championship.
Unless it's a state championship without a single loss.
Ferriday High's Lady Trojans culminated a perfect 35-0 season on March 2, 1996 by defeating district rival and traditional power McCall 51-43 in Hammond.
"That was exciting, but it was also stressful," said former Lady Trojan coach Joan McFarland, who now teaches at Riser Middle School in West Monroe where her husband, James, is head football coach. "I didn't want to go unbeaten only to loss in the state championship game and finish 34-1. During the regular season I never felt like a loss might benefit us. I didn't like to lose and I was worried whether we would be able to re-focus after a loss. We kept it very high tempo. I think the fact we ended up unbeaten put us in an elite category."
McFarland, whose son J.T. just finished his freshman year as a defensive end at TCU, said the championship was a team effort for the entire school.
"We were a team and the players went over and beyond what I asked them to do," McFarland said. "The parents were very helpful, making sure the girls got to practice and entrusting me to them. They didn't mind when I had to scold their child. Coach (Robert) Cade and Coach (Cordell) Bailey were also very helpful. Everyone worked well with each other and we all helped each other out,"
Ferriday defeated Bunkie 69-61 to reach the Sweet 16. The Lady Trojans disposed of Franklinton 52-43 to advance to the finals against McCall, a team they had beaten twice in close games during the regular season.
The Lady Dragons were three-time defending Class 3A championships and led by Louisiana Tech-signee Pashala Perry.
"(McCall coach) Angela Crockett is my cousin," McFarland said. "And McCall had been dominating for so many years. But I could tell the year before that we had a good chance to beat them this year if everyone stayed together. And that's exactly what happened."
Ferriday took control early with its fast-break offense and smothering defense led by Ann Webster, who would be named Class 3A Tournament MVP.
Webster played two years at Copiah-Lincoln and went on to Southeastern Louisiana, where she still holds the school record for most steals in a game (12 against Loyola in 2000) and ranks third in career steals.
The Lady Trojans stormed out to an 18-4 lead and led 20-8 at the end of the first quarter.
Webster led the Lady Trojans with 16 points, while Teyona Gullage added 15. Ferriday standout center Gwen Taylor got in early foul trouble.
The championship for Ferriday's girls basketball was the first for the school since segregation in 1970 and the second since 1962.
"It was something I will never forget and always be one of my most special memories," McFarland said.