Live Oak High found out how precarious a large fourth quarter lead can be Thursday night at the Walker Christmas Challenge.
The Eagles led Ponchatoula by 18 points with six minutes left but had to withstand an inspired Green Wave rally before holding on for a 77-69 win.
Connor Osborne made four of his five 3-pointers during the run and led all scorers with 26 points.
Ponchatoula (7-8) made 12 of 18 from the field in the fourth quarter.
Also hitting double figures for the Wave were Damari Coleman and Ryan Elzy with 10 apiece. For the game, Ponchatoula made 11 of 25 3-point attempts.
Live Oak (8-7) was led by Darian Ricard and Braydon Vallot, who each had 17 points. Lawrence Pierre (16) and Dada Capling (11) were also factors for the Eagles, who made 9 of 10 free throws in the final two minutes.
The fourth quarter began with Live Oak holding a comfortable 51-38 lead. With the help of three Ponchatoula turnovers, Live Oak stretched that to 59-41, but the Green Wave (7-8) fought back quickly.
Ponchatoula responded with a 16-4 run over the next three minutes to pull within 63-57. The Wave made four 3-pointers during the run, and hit 7 of 10 in the quarter.
Ponchatoula twice cut its deficit to four points, the last at 73-69 with 28 seconds left. Halen Cox hit two free throws, and after a the Green Wave was called for a walk, Bryan Bayonne’s driving basket put the game out of reach.
“We relaxed a little. We’re still young and we haven’t learned how to finish games yet,” said Live Oak coach John Capps, whose team advanced to the finals of the Livingston Parish tournament earlier this month.
“We did finish (tonight), but we didn’t finish it up 20 like I would have liked. We made some big free throws, and they made some contested 3s and some deep NBA shots.”
Ponchatoula made 12 of 18 shots in the fourth quarter and hit 48 percent for the game. Live Oak shot 45 percent from the floor.
DUTCHTOWN 79, LUTCHER 37: The Griffins (11-2) took a 26-12 lead after one quarter and held the Bulldogs the three second-quarter points to turn the game into a rout. Lutcher (0-10) never got its deficit under 20 points in the second half.
Nicholas Caldwell and Gary Smith sparked the Griffins, each scoring 11 points in the first quarter. Caldwell finished with 19 and Smith had 18.
“Going by our record, the season’s going well, but we still have a lot to work on,” Dutchtown coach Patrick Hill said. “No. 1, we need to take care of the basketball. That’s the main thing, but we need to work on getting our man-to-man defense a little better, too.”
Lutcher’s Mekhi Patterson scored eight points, and Jamal Thomas added seven.
WALKER 81, JEHOVAH-JIREH 58: The Warriors were as close as 45-42 with five minutes left in the third quarter but couldn’t hold off the Wildcats. Walker (12-2) used a 11-2 closing run in the final minutes to pull away.
Jalen Cook topped Walker with 25 points and got support from Jalen Perkins (14) and Darius Hampont (12). Jehovah-Jireh (13-5) got 13 points from Trenton Payne and 11 points from John-Paul Ricks.