Coach Leslie Maddox made the right calls, his nephew Trey Maddox and his teammates had a sparkling performance and the No. 2 Elizabeth Bulldogs came from behind in the fourth quarter to shake off the youthful Jehovah-Jireh Warriors 68-56 in a Class C quarterfinal game at Baton Rouge Charter Academy on Friday.
The win puts Elizabeth (28-9) in the semifinals for the second straight year.
“I didn’t get nervous because I’ve seen them pinned to the wall before,” Leslie Maddox said.
“When you pin them to the wall, they’re going to play. We’re in pretty good shape, and poise and defense in the fourth quarter were what did it tonight.”
Elizabeth’s defense held Jehovah-Jireh (24-10) to six points in the fourth quarter while the Bulldogs rang up 20, including 10-for-12 from the free-throw line.
“We couldn’t finish it,” JCA coach Dirk Ricks said. “We were able to take the lead, but we didn’t have enough to hold them off at the end.
“In the first half, we got some turnovers and turned it back over. In the third quarter we were able to convert some, but in the fourth quarter we rushed it and kind of got out of whack.”
Trey Maddox tied it at 50 with two free throws early in the fourth, put the Bulldogs up 52-50 with a quick basket and the visitors never looked back.
The Warriors didn’t score in the fourth quarter until there was 2:47 left. Elizabeth went into a zone in the fourth quarter and Jehovah-Jireh had trouble finding open shots and rebounds.
“We tried the triangle-and-two and it didn’t work,” Leslie Maddox said. “You just have to go with what works.”
Trey Maddox led all scorers with 20 points, but Leslie Maddox wouldn’t single out any one player in the win.
“We win together,” he said. “It’s a heart thing.”
Three other Bulldogs were in double figures, Colby Lafauci with 17, Chase Hurst with 14 and Kolby Friday with 12.
Freshmen Trey Johnson and Bryson Johnson had 17 and 12, and eighth-grader Jaron Davis added 16 for Jehovah-Jireh.
The Warriors only senior, Jeremiah Griffin, had a strong inside game with 12 rebounds and six blocks, but had trouble getting his shot to fall. He finished with five points after scoring 29 in an earlier playoff game.
Elizabeth went over the top in the first quarter against the Warriors’ pressure defense, using long cross-court passes to create advantages under the basket. Friday had eight first-quarter points and Trey Maddox five, mostly from the inside, while Lafauci added a 3-pointer and also totaled five as the Bulldogs took a 20-16 lead.
JCA depended on the long three to stay in the game, with Trey Johnson connecting on three 3s and Bryson Johnson and Davis hitting one apiece. Bryson Johnson’s came at the buzzer to cut the lead to four.
It was the Bulldogs who turned to the 3-ball in the second quarter. Lafauci added two more and Hurst one and Elizabeth held on for a 34-31 halftime lead.
The lead soon stretched to eight when Hurst banked in a long three to ignite a 7-2 Bulldog run.
The Warriors then had their best stretch of the night, going on a 15-6 run behind Bryson Johnson and Davis and grabbing their first lead of the night at 48-47 and going on to lead 50-48 after three quarters.