LAKE CHARLES — The last time Landry-Walker played in Burton Coliseum, they walked away with the Class 4A state championship trophy.
They will get a chance to do it again Saturday night, thanks to the outside shooting of Lamar Peters early and the inside presence of Keytaon Thompson late.
Peters and Thompson, the two returning starters from last year’s team, combined for 34 points to lead No. 6 Landry-Walker to a 62-53 victory over No. 10 St. Michael the Archangel in the 4A semifinals.
“They are doing what we expect them to do,” Landry-Walker coach Brian Gibson said. “Lamar gets us going and Keytaon fills in the gaps.”
The sophomore Thompson, also the quarterback on the Landry-Walker football team, finished with 17 points and a game-high 13 rebounds.
The sharp-shooting Peters also finished with 17 points, including four-3-pointers from well beyond NBA range.
Landry-Walker (25-9) advances to Saturday’s 8 p.m. championship game to play the winner of Thursday’s semifinal between Salmen and McDonogh 35.
The Charging Bucs beat East Jefferson 76-56 in the 2014 title game and started on fire Wednesday night just like they did a year ago.
It wasn’t quite the 32-2 first-half run from a season ago, but it was still a hot start.
The first quarter belonged to Peters. The second belonged to sophomore teammate Kahlil Williams.
Peters, who made three first-half 3-pointers in the title game last year, picked up where he left off, nailing three in the first five minutes.
“I know every game I want to give my team a good start,” Peters said. “We want to come out and play hard. We don’t want to take any plays off.”
He scored 11 points in the first quarter to give the Charging Buccaneers a 15-11 lead.
He sat out most of the second after picking up his second foul, but Williams picked up the slack.
Williams knocked down three 3-pointers during a two-minute stretch early in the second quarter.
“I was feeling it,” said Williams.
It was just what Gibson expects.
“His job is to shoot the basketball,” Gibson said. “I think Lamar has a lot of confidence in him. That’s his role. If you leave him open, he’ll make it.”
Williams’ third 3-pointer with 5:33 left in the half gave Landry-Walker a 24-13 lead.
But the Warriors didn’t go away. They outscored Landry-Walker 8-4 to close the half and trailed 28-21 at halftime.
Cincinnati signee Jacob Evans scored nine first-half points for St. Michael.
Landry-Walker stretched its lead to 43-31 early in the fourth quarter on a dunk by Tulane signee Blake Paul.
But St. Michael got hot from the outside and made five 3-pointers in the final quarter to keep it close.
“They shot the ball well early, and we played from a deficit,” St. Michael coach Drew Hart said. “I thought we had a few runs late. If we ever could have got a little confidence and got that lead, maybe the tide would have changed. … There is a reason they won a state championship last year and have a chance of winning it again.”
Tirell Gilmore came off the bench and finished with eight points and Paul finished with six.
“I just thought tonight we were the better team,” Gibson said. “We were able to get some things going early. I thought our bigs controlled the backboards. We are a good offensive team, and now we are able to hang with teams on the boards.”