When Madison Prep led by only four points at the end of the first quarter, it looked like Southern Lab was destined to have a big night.

The Kittens learned once again that St. John’s commitment Brandon Sampson has a habit of altering another team’s fate.

Sampson scored a game-high 27, mixing 3-pointers, dunks and flashy passes to lead Madison Prep past Southern Lab 74-50 on Friday night in District 6-1A action at Southern’s F.G. Clark Activity Center.

“You can’t take it off the pedal,” Sampson said. “We just have to play up to our expectations. You can’t be complacent.”

Sampson was not the only Chargers star. Sherry Porter scored a game-high 36 points to power the MPA girls past Southern Lab 62-61 in overtime. Winning titles and big games is old hat for the Madison boys. This victory provided a signature win for the MPA girls.

Porter left her mark throughout. She consistently drove past the Southern Lab defense. Her biggest bucket was a jumper at the buzzer to send the game to overtime.

“Last year we were a first-year team and everybody underestimated us,” Porter said. “This year we had to prove a point, and we proved it tonight.”

Boys

MADISON PREP 74, SOUTHERN LAB 50: The Chargers (22-1, 2-0) upped their defensive intensity in the second quarter. That’s when MPA outscored the Kittens (15-5, 1-1) by an 18-4 margin to take control.

“We were kind of sleep-walking there at the start,” Madison coach Jeff Jones said. “The first quarter Southern Lab played well but we persevered.”

Josh Anderson, who scored 12 points, was the only other Madison Prep player in double figures. Tyler Panyaneuveng finished with 11 points and Chris Allen had 10 for SLHS, which struggled to get shots over MPA’s 6-foot-9 post player Yuryk Lazard, who finished with nine blocked shots.

Poor free-throw shooting also hurt the Kittens. SLHS made just 16 of 36 from the free-throw line. A six-minute scoring drought in the second quarter was devastating. Losing Bladrick Veal to a second-half injury didn’t help matters either.

“We did some things in the first quarter that worked,” SLHS coach Devan Clark said. “We got caught up in thinking we could improvise. What they (the Chargers) have is special. They play the game the way it’s supposed to be played.”

Madison Prep led by 18 at halftime and pushed its lead to 24 points in the third quarter.

Girls

MADISON PREP 62, SOUTHERN LAB 61: The MPA girls (19-7, 2-0) started on fire and led 17-4 during the first quarter. By halftime, Southern Lab (12-9, 2-1) cut the gap to eight points.

The Chargers managed to keep the Kittens at bay for most of the second half. Each time the Kittens made a run, Porter typically answered.

With Nicole Bartley, Tarkeia Leflore and Cailain Williams leading the way, SLHS claimed the lead in the final minute.

Bartley finished with 21 points, while Leflore had 14 and Williams 13.

Back-to-back 3-pointers by Williams tied it at 47-47 with 1:50 remaining. Bartley’s jumper from the free-throw line gave Southern Lab a 49-47 with 48.2 seconds left.

The Kittens led 50-48 when Porter hit her buzzer-beater to force overtime. Two free throws by Kennedy Moore with 29.8 seconds left provided the game-winning points.

Moore added 11 points for the Chargers.

“All the girls played very hard, and I just want to give it to them,” MPA coach Dwayne Hayes said. “They didn’t quit when they got down.”