LAKE CHARLES — The first sign Josh Leblanc was destined to have a big game came less than three minutes into Wednesday’s Class 3A semifinal.
“When Jahein (Spencer) missed that layup and I caught it off the rim and dunked, I knew,” Leblanc said. “This game by far was the most comfortable I have felt.”
Leblanc played the most extensive minutes in a single game since suffering a broken foot in November. He led top-seeded Madison Prep to a 62-47 win over Wossman at the LHSAA boys basketball tournament.
The 6-foot-7 Georgetown signee scored 15 of his game-high 17 points in the first half and also had 11 rebounds and two blocked shots as the Chargers advanced to another title game at Burton Coliseum. Point guard Tyrese Walker added 10 points and seven assists. Darrell Comache Jr. finished with 11 points and 11 rebounds for Wossman.
MPA advances to play No. 2 Peabody (34-2) in the 3A final set for 4 p.m. Saturday. The Chargers are in a title game for the sixth straight year and seek their fifth LHSAA title in a fourth classification.
“Just thankful we were able to get this one. It has a been a tough year for us. We’ve had a lot of injuries this year ... more than we’ve ever had,” Madison Prep coach Jeff Jones said. “Tonight, Josh Leblanc and Tyrese Walker played like two seniors are supposed to play. They set the tone. We knew Wossman would be tough and physical, grinding type team. We knew we had to match their intensity.”
The Chargers more than matched the intensity of the Monroe-based Wildcats. The thing fourth-seeded Wossman (25-10) could not match was Madison Prep’s offensive production.
MPA scored the first nine points. Wossman was 0-for-17 from the field in the first quarter. The Chargers led 17-3 after one quarter with Leblanc scoring eight of those points. Wossman made just 29.6 percent (16 of 54) field goals for the game.
“You could see it early,” Wossman coach Casey Jones Sr. said. “We missed a couple of chip shots around the goal. For whatever reason — like there was a lid on it (basket). Leblanc got going on the glass, and that got our younger guys to start thinking. The shots just were not falling and some nights that happens.”
Wossman did match MPA by scoring 18 second-quarter points. The Wildcats got as close as 11 points, but a dunk by Leblanc with 15 seconds remaining staked Madison Prep a 37-21 halftime lead. MPA's Marcus Guss made 3 of 4 first-half 3-pointers.
“I say my job on the court is to get everybody involved,” Walker said. “I look to pass before I look to score, and I’m a defensive player. I like to hustle and dive on the floor.”
Walker contined to do all those things in the second half as Madison Prep pushed its lead to as much as 25 points in the third quarter. The final 15-point margin was as close as Wossman got.