East Ascension took a large lead into the fourth quarter for the second consecutive day, but this time the Spartans didn’t wait until the final minute to put the game away.
Washington-Marion cut a 14-point deficit to nine midway through the final quarter, but East Ascension regained its poise and posted a 60-51 win in the Joel Hawkins Classic at Southern University.
In the tournament’s first boys game, North Central defeated Family Christian 54-46, while Plaquemine turned back Northside 64-57 later in the day.
East Ascension (13-6) lost most of a double-digit lead at Dutchtown on Friday night before pulling out a 54-52 win. The Spartans led Washington-Marion (10-10) 47-33 after three quarters, and the Indians closed to within 55-46 with three minutes left.
The Spartans kept their composure, and put the game away behind Tre Joseph’s basket and a three-point play by Jimel London.
“We have some young guys learning to finish out games,” EAHS coach Barry Whittington said. “They’re 15 or 16 years old, and in their mind if we’re up by a point then the game’s over. When you’re up 12 with two minutes left, (possessing) the ball and time are on your side. Right now we’re not understanding that concept.”
London scored 20 points and was named the game’s Most Valuable Player. Shedrick Smith (14) and Hobert Grayson (10) also led the Spartans.
"I like how we finished today," London said. "We didn’t give up a big lead.”
Washington-Marion was outscored 14-6 in the third quarter, when EA extended its 33-27 halftime lead. The Indians were led by Darius Reado’s 11 points.
PLAQUEMINE 64, NORTHSIDE 57: The Green Devils made 28 of 39 free throws to overcome a 36-point outing by Seneca Knight.
Among the free throws, four came via two technicals assessed to the Northside bench in the second half.
Northside (12-9) trailed 31-22 at halftime, but twice cut the deficit to four points early in the fourth quarter. Knight hit a pair of free throws with 57 seconds left to pull the Vikings within 61-55, but Plaquemine (11-7) made three of four free throws in the closing seconds to preserve the win.
Jackson sparked Plaquemine in the early going with a dunk off a steal. He had six points as the Green Devils led 14-8 after one quarter. The lead grew to 29-14 in the second quarter after Dempsey scored inside. Knight hit two of his five 3-pointers as Northside got within 31-22 at halftime.
“We had the lead, but I knew it wasn’t over. Northside is a great team,” Plaquemine coach Donald Johnson said. “They’ve got great stuff offensively, and they’re just hard to guard. We had to regroup and go back to getting defensive stops.”
Plaquemine, which made 11 of 14 free throws in the fourth quarter, got balanced scoring from three players. Tyson Dempsey scored 19, Jazz Provo had 16 and Darius Jackson contributed 15.