LAFAYETTE — Led by a strong second-half defensive effort, Peabody defeated Washington-Marion 53-41 on Saturday night to win the inaugural Big Dave Basketball Classic held at Northside High School.

Peabody (10-0) started off the game aggressive on both ends as the Warhorses began the game on a 10-1 run, highlighted by five points from Jacoby Ross. Peabody’s defense was especially effective as Washington-Marion (5-4) didn’t record its first field goal until 3:44 left in the first quarter when L’Marcus Walker made a soft layup.

The Indians responded with a 14-0 run that ran into the second quarter as the Warhorses’ first team struggled to get shots to fall. Peabody’s legendary coach Charles Smith made the decision to send in his second unit. That proved to be a wise decision, as the Warhorses made it a back-and-forth game the rest of the first half.

Washington-Marion, which defeated Madison Prep and host Northside to advance to the title game, held a 21-19 lead at halftime.

Peabody’s Dammon O’Connor gave the Warhorses a much-needed spark in the third quarter. O’Connor’s put back shot brought Peabody within one, and his free throw moments later tied the game at 23. He then stole a pass at midcourt, which led to two free throws by Ross, drained a 3-pointer and moments later, assisted on another bucket.

By the end of the third, Peabody, which reached the title game by beating Southern Lab and St. Stephen’s of Austin, Texas, held a 38-35 lead.

Despite struggling at the free-throw line by missing 13 attempts, the Warhorses still were able to add to the lead by starting the fourth on a 6-0 run. Peabody’s defense proved formidable in the second half, holding Washington-Marion to only 20 points, including six in the final quarter on the way to the victory.

O’Connor led Peabody with 15 points while Kameron Trowel added 10 points and nine rebounds coming off the bench. Ross chipped in 10 points as well while Kevin Norman pulled down a game-high 12 rebounds.

Christian Edwards paced Washington-Marion with 11 points while Joshua’ Porche added 10 in the defeat.