It was the showcase Southern Lab coach Devan Clark had hoped. Just not the outcome he was expecting for his team.
The Kittens honored legendary SLHS coach Joel Hawkins with a commemorative basketball to help close the first Joel Hawkins Classic. But the host team had its issues putting the basketball through the hoop.
Madison Prep outscored Southern Lab 21-6 in the third quarter and ultimately notched a 64-35 victory to close the one-day tournament.
“It’s a great event, and we were glad to be part of it to honor coach Hawkins,” MPA coach Jeff Jones said. “I told them those guys would come out and play with a degree of pride, and I wanted to see how we’d play after losing a tough game (to Scotlandville) Tuesday.
“I talked to them about mental toughness before the game, and I think we showed a little of that.”
Josh LeBlanc scored a game-high 13 points for the Class 2A Chargers (14-4). Jharon Whitfield (10 points) and Kobe Julien (9) were other MPA leaders.
Belaire, Landry-Walker and Port Allen were the other winners on Saturday at Southern University’s F.G. Clark Center.
No player scored in double figures for Southern Lab (10-6). The two former Class 1A district rivals got off to slow start, combining for 10 turnovers in the first quarter.
A spin move in the lane by Julien gave MPA a 6-4 lead with 2:11 left.
Baskets by Azharen Ernest and Tyriq Matthews in the final 1:13 sent SLHS into the second quarter with a 9-7 lead.
LeBlanc was the difference-maker in the second quarter with eight points. Southern Lab managed to stay within striking distance despite eight second-quarter turnovers. Chris Allen scored four points off the bench for the Kittens but MPA led 26-20 at halftime.
The second half was all Madison Prep. Josh Anderson started it off with two free throws and a basket. Southern Lab went almost four minutes without scoring in the third period.
“I think there was a lot of emotion at the start,” Clark said. “We’ve got to be able to play through adversity and stick with the game plan. We didn’t do that. (The Chargers) are a great basketball team, and when they see a weakness, they attack it.”
BELAIRE 58, BEAU CHENE 40: Both teams played without their leading scorers, but Belaire didn’t miss a beat without injured guard Terrance Johnson.
Eric Matthews led the Bengals (13-5) with 15 points, and Robert Lewis added 12. Belaire scored 10 of the final 12 points in the first quarter to take control. Belaire led by as much as 19 points during the first game.
Deontre Eaglin led Beau Chene (6-8) with 17.
PORT ALLEN 64, NORTHSIDE 60: Port Allen avenged a loss to Lafayette-based Northside just six days earlier. The Pelicans (9-6) built a 10-point lead but held on as the Vikings got with three in the final seconds.
Nigel Allen led the winners with a game-high 20 points. Dontrius Franklin (15 points), Andre Williams (13) and Crandal Jackson (11) were other leaders for Port Allen.
Cam McGilvery’s 3-pointer with 35 seconds left got Northside (12-6) within three.
Jonte Morrison, who had 17 points, led NHS.