West Jefferson couldn’t get to the locker room fast enough to avoid Madison Prep Academy’s onslaught.
The Buccaneers were nursing foul trouble, turned to a pair of freshmen and hoped to get through the final two minutes of the first half.
They didn’t make it.
Madison Prep closed on an 8-0 surge and opened the third quarter with a pair of baskets that bridged a 13-0 blitz, a sequence West Jefferson never recovered from in a 51-40 loss in the championship game Saturday of the Fifth Annual Madison Prep Classic tournament.
“We had to put a couple of freshmen (DeJour Lloyd and Tony White) in the game, and they didn’t respond well,” West Jefferson coach Brian Simmons said. “(Madison Prep) smelled blood, cut the lead we had and took the lead. That was a big difference in the first half.”
West Jefferson (11-3) reached the final with victories over Southern Lab and Northside of Lafayette.
The Buccaneers, who had their nine-game win streak snapped, erased a 5-0 deficit, took a 12-10 first-quarter lead on Kyle Poller’s 3-pointer and built a 19-12 advantage midway through the second quarter.
West Jefferson forced Madison Prep into 10 turnovers, and Casey Ransow’s 3-pointer and JaQuan Jackson’s driving layup provided the Bucs with their largest lead.
Poller, who led West Jefferson with 13, and Ray Anderson, who added 12, were both on the bench in foul trouble when Madison Prep forced the Buccaneers into eight turnovers, half of which came in the last two minutes.
The Chargers (11-3) scored six points in their 8-0 run off of turnovers with tournament MVP Marquis Browder making it 26-23 at half with a steal and layup.
Ransaw knocked down his second 3-pointer, drawing West Jefferson to within 31-28 with 4:33 left in the third quarter.
That was the final field goal of the quarter for the Bucs, who missed their last four shots and turned the ball over six times to trail 36-28 heading into the fourth quarter.
Poller’s driving bank shot with 6:43 to play was West Jeff’s last basket of the game. The Bucs finished 1-of-10 from the field in the quarter and 3-of-18 (17 percent) in the second half.
Madison Prep, which shot 57 percent in the second half, stretched its lead to as many as 13 points on Kobe Julien’s reverse layup accounting for a 49-36 lead with 1:58 remaining.
“Every time we tried to make a run we gave up a basket, and that kind of killed us,” Simmons said. “We didn’t shoot as well as we normally do. You have to play defense and offense. That was the big difference in the second half for us.”