DENHAM SPRINGS — Southern Lab rallied from a seven-point deficit with two minutes left to post a 54-50 win over St. Amant, highlighting first-day action at the season-opening Grady Hornsby Classic hosted by Denham Springs High School.
James Harris scored 14 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter to spark the Southern Lab comeback. With the score tied 50-50, Harris fed Ray White for the go-ahead basket with 21 seconds left, and then hit two free throws to seal the win.
“(St. Amant) might have gotten a little nonchalant thinking it was won, but we just didn’t quit,” Southern Lab coach Lonnie Machen said.
“We kept pressuring, we got the turnovers we needed, and we got some easy baskets. A turnover here or there can be the difference in these games.”
In the first game of the day, Dutchtown ran up a huge lead and coasted to a 47-38 win over Walker.
Darion Harleaux led the Griffins with 17 points, while Nick Whalen added 10. Bryce Brown scored a game-high 20 for Walker.
St. Amant led 37-31 entering the fourth quarter, and pushed out to a nine-point lead on three occasions, the last at 47-38 when Marvin Brown fed Mason Cloutre for an inside basket.
Harris’ driving basket made it 47-40 at the 2:09 mark, and he added another seconds later following a steal. After St. Amant had trouble in-bounding the ball, Harris scored in the lane.
Brown scored two of his game-high 21 points as St. Amant led 49-44 with 1:25 left. Harris scored from close range again and, after Brown made 1 of 2 free throws, Lance Bernard scored two of his 18 to cut the St. Amant lead to 50-48.
Following the in-bounds pass, Bernard stole the ball at midcourt and fed Harris, who was fouled driving to the basket. Harris made both free throws to tie the game with 42 seconds left.
St. Amant’s Domingue Wilmore then missed the front end of a one-and-one, and Harris fed Ray White for an inside bucket, and the lead with 20 seconds left.
Brown missed inside the paint with eight seconds left, and Harris added two free throws to complete the fourth-quarter rally.
“Its early in the season,” St. Amant coach Gary Duhe said. “It was a good game, but we didn’t finish. We’ve got to be able to make layups, hit our free throws and we can’t turn it over. But we played well against a very good team.”
Joining Brown in double figures for St. Amant were Brandon Guillory with 12, and Clouatre with 10.
However, it was point guard Donald Leblanc who orchestrated the show with his ability to penetrate.
“He made things very difficult for us,” Machen said of Leblanc, who finished with seven points and seven assists. “He was getting it to the goal, and really causing some problems.”
There were nine lead changes and two ties in the first half as neither team found a way to take control. Leblanc hit a 3-pointer, and had two assists as St. Amant closed the first quarter with a 7-0 run to take a 13-8 lead.
Highlighted by two 3-pointers from Bernard, Southern Lab answered with a 9-0 run to start the second.
Guillory’s three-point play put St. Amant back on top 18-17 with five minutes left in the half, and the teams traded baskets the rest of the half.
Southern Lab led 23-22 at halftime.