Lafayette Christian topples North Caddo in Sunkist Shootout _lowres

Advocate photo by PAUL KIEU -- Lafayette Christian's Kalob Ledoux attempts a shot against North Caddo's Robert Williams (5) and Keshun Sanders at the Sunkist Shootout on Dec. 29 at St. Thomas More in Lafayette.

LAFAYETTE — The Lafayette Christian basketball team bounced back after a slow start and neutralized North Caddo star center Robert Williams late in the game to defeat the Rebels 66-53 and win the St. Thomas More Sunkist Shootout on Wednesday night.

Perhaps the most pivotal moment of the game came in the closing seconds of the third quarter with the game tied at 45 when Williams picked up his fourth foul of the game.

As a result, Williams sat out the first four minutes of the final quarter and played less than two minutes without taking a shot before picking up his fifth and fouling out.

“We knew any time he touched the ball he was going to be a threat,” LCA coach Byron Starks said. “Our game plan was to attack him early, get him in foul trouble and just keep going at him.

“I think our entire bench celebrated (when Williams fouled out) because we knew ... that if we could get him out of the ball game, we had a really good shot at winning.”

The Knights indeed took advantage of his absence, outscoring the Rebels 21-8 in the final quarter to seal the victory and win the tournament.

The Rebels controlled the game early as Williams posted 13 points in the first quarter to help give North Caddo a 19-13 lead.

But the Knights bounced back with a staunch defensive effort, forcing North Caddo to turn the ball over in its first three possessions of the second quarter and tying the game at 19 in the first 45 seconds of the period.

The Rebels struggled dealing with the revamped LCA defense, turning the ball over nine times in the second quarter, but that didn’t keep them from re-establishing a 29-23 lead with some defense of their own.

LCA senior guard Kalob LeDoux ended a long Knights scoring drought with a highly contested layup late in the half and sophomore Greg Williams hit a 3-pointer with 25 seconds remaining to cut North Caddo’s lead to 29-28 before halftime. The game went back and forth in the second half until the final minutes of the game when the Knights took control

The contest ended in peculiar fashion with LCA senior guard Michael Harden shooting six consecutive free throws after North Caddo’s Chris Thomas committed his fifth foul before picking up two technical fouls on his way to the bench.

Kalob LeDoux finished the game with 24 points and took home the tournament MVP award and LCA sophomore guard Greg Williams added 16 points and earned a spot on the all-tournament team.

Despite his absence in the fourth quarter, Robert Williams posted 27 points, eight rebounds and four blocks and also earned spot on the all-tournament team after averaging a double-double and more than eight blocks a game for the tournament.