Madison Prep took control in the second quarter and never let Southern Lab get back into the game Saturday morning in a girls game that opened the Joel Hawkins Classic at Southern University’s Clark Activity Center.

Madison Prep led by nine at halftime, and went on to post a 60-44 win behind a balanced offense. Eight Chargers scored, including Destiny Ellis with 13 points and Tarneisha Young with 12.

Southern Lab’s Cailain Williams made five 3-pointers and led all scorers with 21 points. Stephanie Stewart added 16 for the Kittens.

Both schools have dealt with major changes this season. Madison Prep (12-10), which has moved up to Class 3A, is replacing most of a starting lineup that won the 2017 2A state title. Southern Lab (7-6) advanced to last year’s select, Division IV semifinals but is in its first season under coach Quianna Chaney.

“Southern Lab is a team you want to play,” MPA coach Dwayne Hayes said. “They may not be the same Southern Lab team they’ve been in the past, but they’re still a good team. They’ve still got good players, and you have to play hard to win the game.”

Madison Prep opened the game on a tear. The Chargers made their first five shots, and led 11-3. A 3-pointer by Williams helped Lab battle back to within 13-10 after one quarter.

Early in the second, another Williams 3-pointer helped Lab tie the score twice, the last at 17. Ellis and Ryanisha Fleming each had two baskets as MPA responded with an 11-2 run to close out the half.

Lab got as close as 30-26 in the third quarter. The Chargers then scored 10 of the next 12 points for a 40-28 lead.

In the fourth quarter, Lab cut the lead to seven points, 49-42, on Stewart’s jumper with 5:29 left. The Kittens turned the ball over on its next four possessions, and MPA extended the lead to 58-42.

“We’ve been up and down (this season),” Hayes said. “We’re trying to iron out some things to make us a better team.”