BRUSLY — The final scene spoke volumes about the accomplishment.
Just seconds after the final buzzer resonated Brusly’s bench spilled out onto their home floor to celebrate an early milestone victory with the Lady Panthers knocking off defending District 7-3A and Class 3A state champion University High 60-51 on Tuesday night.
“It’s not just another district win,” Brusly coach Shaeeta Williams said. “We don’t take any opponents lightly. This is a great U-High team and I have a lot of respect for their program. I think it proved not to the fans but to our kids what hard work will do.”
The reigning Class 3A state champion University High boys extracted any drama out of its league opener with Brusly, jumping out a 21-9 first-quarter lead before cruising to a 78-41 victory.
“We wanted to get off to a good start with this the first game in district,” U-High boys coach Joe Spencer said. “Brusly is a tough place to play so I was pleased with how we came out. I thought we were ready from the tip.”
BRUSLY ( girls) 60, U-HIGH 51: Brusly (13-6, 3-0), which never trailed, set a frenetic pace with 21 first-quarter points for a 21-15 lead they extended to 35-27 by halftime. The Panther victory ended a 14-game UHS winning streak.
Senior Madison LaPrarie scored 16 of her game-high 20 points in the first half, including two of her three 3-pointers, to pace Brusly, which forced U-High into 12 of its 23 turnovers during the opening 16 minutes.
Caitlyn Williams added nine of her 13 points in the first half for the Lady Panthers, who made 45 percent of their shots during that span.
“Before the game I told my teammates I was feeling it and I did,” LaPrarie said. “I knew I wanted to win; it’s my senior year. I wanted to go out and try my best.”
Guard Kaila Anderson opened the third quarter with a steal and layup, drawing U-High (16-2, 2-1) to within 35-29, but that turned out to be the closest they could get.
Brusly quickly regained the momentum with Shandrika Pierson scoring nine of her 13 points in the third quarter to make it 46-35 with 2:37 left.
LaPrarie dropped in a 3-pointer to start the fourth quarter for a 49-35 lead which never dipped below seven points with Brusly limiting U-High to 30 percent shooting.
Chelsea Verrett led the Cubs with 14 points.
“I’m proud our kids maintained their composure even when we were pressed and made some mistakes,” Williams said. “We kind of settled down and did what we needed to do.”
U-HIGH (boys) 78, BRUSLY 41: Brusly’s Darien Jones’ 3-pointer tied the game at 7-all at the 5:10 mark before U-High reeled off a 14-2 run over the next five minutes to take a 21-9 advantage.
All five of the Cubs’ starters contributed in the first-quarter uprising with Jalen Johnson’s 3-pointer capping the blitz.
U-High, which shot 61 percent in the half, opened a 35-18 lead with 1:47 left before halftime on two free throws from Maxwell Starwood, whose putback off a missed free throw accounted for his team’s 37-22 cushion at half.
Starwood, a Tulane commitment, was one of three double-figure scorers with 16 points. Wayde Sims added 15 and John Jones 10.
Despite playing without starter DJ White, U-High (14-2) had a total of nine players that scored in the first half with freshmen Spencer Mays and Kyle Ross combining for 10 points.
Michael Bryant had 10 points for Brusly (12-5).
U-High extended its margin to as many as 38 points (76-38) courtesy of a three-minute streak that featured four transition dunks from Skylar Mays, two from Sims and another from Starwood.
“We definitely wanted to get off to a good start in district because it’s so important moving toward the playoffs,” Spencer said. “It’s only going to happen one game at a time.”