First-year Southern Lab basketball coach Devan Clark was hoping to fortify his already talented roster with additional help from the Division IV state runner-up football team.
Because of injuries to several of those players, Clark will have to wait to bolster his team that didn’t need any further help in running away from West Feliciana 84-51 on Tuesday night at Southern University’s Seymore Gym.
“I thought I was going to be excited, getting all the football guys out and we would be rolling,” Clark said with a grin. “We want those guys to get healthy. Hopefully, by district, we can put all our guys together. Until then, we’ve got to keep grinding it out.”
Southern Lab (5-2) exhibited relentless full-court pressure and trapped West Feliciana in the halfcourt, forcing the Saints (1-6) into 25 turnovers that fueled a fastbreak clinic.
The Kittens, who shot 58 percent from the field, had three players in double figures led by Sheldon Carroll’s 21 points with Dontrell Carr adding 15 and Jordan Booker 13.
“It’s a total team effort,” Clark said. “We’re not relying on one guy. Anyone we put on the floor, we expect to get out there and contribute to the team.”
Southern Lab was a wire-to-wire winner, jumping out to a 10-2 lead four minutes into the game on Booker’s layup and never looked back.
West Feliciana was also trying to acclimate new players from its Class 3A state semifinalist football team with senior Jazz Ferguson, an LSU wide receiver commitment, scoring 15 and Joe Bangham 11.
West Feliciana enjoyed some of its best minutes over the last two minutes of the opening quarter. Roderick Adams’ 3-pointer from the corner igniting a 7-4 spurt that was capped by Davon Harris’ baseline drive with 9.7 seconds left, drawing his team within 19-15.
“Our guards are first-year starters, and this is the first time this year we’ve faced a full-court press from start to finish,” West Feliciana coach Jason Norris said. “Inexperience caught up with us, and we’ll use this as a tool to get better.”
Carroll opened the second quarter with a three-point play, and Southern Lab, which made 8 of 13 shots in the quarter and forced nine turnovers, went on a 12-2 run to open a 32-17 lead with 2:50 left before halftime.
Booker scored on consecutive baskets and had nine points in the quarter as the Kittens outscored the Saints 18-8 and held a 37-23 halftime lead.
Southern Lab was just getting started, shooting 71 percent (20 of 28) in the second half to produce a 47-28 scoring advantage. Carroll’s layup with 2:51 left gave the Kittens their largest lead at 82-46.
“We’re young,” said Clark, whose team expanded its roster with football players Shannon Forman Jr. and Tyler Panyonovoung.
“We try hard and work hard and have a good chemistry. Guys get along and care about one another. I’m seeing some positives.”