LAKE CHARLES — Third-seeded Anacoco ended fourth-seeded Midland’s bid to win back-to-back Class B state championships with a 62-48 victory behind Indians junior Will Reese on Friday at the Allstate Sugar Bowl/LHSAA Boys Top 28 tournament in Burton Coliseum.
Anacoco finished on top in a back-and-forth game characterized by big runs that kept the game close until the final quarter.
“The way we’re looking at it right now is we weren’t even supposed to be here to begin with,” Midland coach William Stanley said. “We fought through some adversity. These guys fought hard all year long, and I am absolutely thrilled with how far we’ve gotten.”
Reese earned the Class B Most Outstanding Player award after leading the Indians to their first state title with a game-high 26 points and nine rebounds.
Earlier in the day, No. 3 New Living Word succeeded in winning back-to-back Class C titles with a 61-52 victory against first-seeded Atlanta.
Anacoco senior Samuel Turnipseed also contributed to the landmark victory with 19 points. The duo of Reese and Turnipseed tallied 18 of the Indians 24 points in the fourth quarter to help secure the victory.
After falling behind by seven midway through the third quarter, Midland clawed its way back and erased the deficit with an 11-3 run and went into the fourth quarter trailing by just one.
But Reese took control early in the final period, scoring Anacoco’s first eight points in just more than three minutes to give the Indians a 48-41 lead they didn’t relinquish.
“(Midland) cut the lead to one or two, and I just knew that I had to come up big,” Reese said. “Our guys had been playing hard, and it was time to close it out. I knew I had to step it up and create a shot, even if they were all over me.”
Midland senior Devin Gautreux led the Rebels with 15 points, followed by sophomore Dagan Patin with 13 points and senior Randy Primeaux with 12 points.
But their performances were not enough to overcome Reese and Turnipseed.
“We’ve been thinking about this since we were five,” Turnipseed said. “We played Little Dribblers together, and we’ve stayed together. …To win it together is the best feeling in the world because we’ve been talking about it since then.”
After a back-and-forth first half that had both teams tied at 28 apiece, the Lions dominated the third quarter outscoring Atlanta 16-4 and cruised through the fourth quarter on their way to its second consecutive championship.
New Living Word senior center Javier Roper earned Most Outstanding Player with a 19-point, 9-rebound performance. Roper’s classmate Xavious Williams also contributed heavily with a double-double, shooting 9-for-10 from the field for 18 points and grabbing 15 rebounds
“I’m proud of our team,” New Living Word coach Jerry Baldwin said. “We matched their intensity and matched their effort, and as a result, we came out as champions.”