Reigning Class 4A state boys basketball champion Landry-Walker entered its bidistrict playoff matchup cloaked in question marks.
How severe is Keytaon Thompson’s ankle sprain?
Is it significant enough to sideline the sophomore forward, or is his game-time decision designation merely a ploy?
If Thompson does suit up, just how effective could he/would he be for the Chargin’ Bucs?
No. 27 Loyola Prep received answers Thursday night.
Thompson, a pivotal frontcourt big man who tweaked his ankle landing on the foot of another player in last Friday’s regular-season finale, started.
Employing a full lineup, the No. 6 Bucs (14-7) emerged, grounding the Flyers 90-45 in the opening round of the playoffs at home.
“We were working on all cylinders,” Landry-Walker coach Brian Gibson said.
“We shot the ball extremely well tonight, especially early on. When we make our shots from all over the court, we’re extremely tough to defeat. We also defended extremely well. And everything starts on the defensive end.”
Thompson’s presence helped. He was paired with lengthy 6-foot-9 center Blake Paul, forming a tandem that controlled the area around the lane and outrebounded the smaller Loyola Prep team.
In the first half alone, the Bucs allowed the Flyers a paltry five field goals — three in the first quarter, two in the second — while torching them for 43 points.
“We knew they were going to present us with a zone defensive look,” Bucs guard Lamar Peters said.
“That’s what we practiced against all week. Coach just preached ball movement. Swing the ball around, run your sets and you’ll be able to get the shots that you want. You just have to knock them down when the opportunity presents itself.”
Peters heeded the message.
The leading scorer poured in 20 points including six 3-pointers, which lifted Landry-Walker to a 43-11 halftime lead.
“When open looks are going in, it often forces teams to switch up their game plan,” Gibson said. “That’s what separated us from (Loyola).”
Thompson and Paul combined for 16 points, 17 rebounds and four blocks.
“Before the game, I needed to see whether or not I could jump and land properly and run without any setbacks,” Thompson said.
“Everything felt good, so I went out there for my teammates. I’m not 100 percent, but I had to test it out. I had to play. I hate sitting on the sidelines.”
When Gibson sidelined the tandem in the second half, that’s when the Flyers generated more offense.
Guard Tony Dorsey paced Loyola Prep with 16 points.
“It’s the playoffs,” Gibson said. “No matter who your opponent is, you have to come out and play basketball. You can’t afford to take anyone lightly. We’ll celebrate this victory (Thursday night) and get back into the gym to prepare for whoever our opponent is (Friday).”