DENHAM SPRINGS — Practice doesn’t always make things perfect so St. Michael the Archangel has used its early schedule to season its younger players.
The seasoning was just right Tuesday night at the Grady Hornsby Classic where St. Michael advanced to the tournament final with a 72-54 win over previously unbeaten Lutcher.
St. Michael (3-1) was led by Jacob Evans’ 24 points, and David Ventress’ 16 points. Five Warriors combined to hit seven 3-pointers, making it hard for Lutcher (4-1) to focus on one player.
“It’s getting there,” SMHS coach Drew Hart said of his team’s progress. “It’s hard to put the team in (game) situations in practice. We don’t have Lutcher’s team speed, and (Lutcher coach Chase) Delrie does a great job. “We have to get in games, make mistakes and learn from it.”
Three-pointers were also a key theme in consolation bracket games.
Mandeville hit nine 3-pointers on its way to a 59-19 win over Holden. Not to be outdone, Hammond sank 10 in its 61-51 win over Baker.
Host Denham Springs edged East Ascension 67-64 in the late game. The Yellow Jackets and St. Michael will meet for the tournament title at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday.
St. Michael 72, Lutcher 54: Lutcher caused St. Michael problems by driving to the basket and getting offensive reboounds.
The Bulldogs shot just 25 percent from the field and never led in the game.
Lutcher grabbed 26 offensive rebounds, but made only 19 of 77 field goal attempts.
“We didn’t play as well defensively as I wanted,” Hart said. “We allowed too much dribble penetration. It was the first time we’ve played a team running and jumping, and pressing us heavy. I thought we handled that alright.”
St. Michael took a 23-13 first- quarter lead before Lutcher began to chip away. The Warriors led 29-19 in the second quarter when Evans left the game after picking up his second foul.
Torian Robertson’s follow shot got the Bulldogs within 32-29.
Ventress scored five points in the last two minutes of the half. St. Michael led 39-32 at halftime.
In the third quarter, Lutcher fought back to tie the score at 43 on Tubb Maddies’ 3-pointer.
The Bulldogs were as close as 47-45 with three minutes left, but St. Michael, highlighted by Tim Hasten’s 3-pointer, closed the quarter with a 9-2 run.
Lutcher fell behind by 14 points midway through the fourth quarter and never got the deficit under 10 again.
Brendon Taylor scored 16 for Lutcher, and Taijh White added 10.
“We made our run in the second quarter and got ourselves back in the game,” Delrie said. “We tried to make a few adjustments in the third, and just didn’t play very well.”
Denham Springs 67, East Ascension 64: Torez Kinchen scored 11 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter as Denham Springs rallied for the win. East Ascension led 47-44 after three quarters, but couldn’t hold on.
Also in double figures for Denham Springs was Zach Davidson with 22, and Tuwain Starks with 15.