DONALDSONVILLE — In a game featuring early offense and a lot of muscle, No. 9 seed Port Allen prevailed on the road Tuesday night, beating No. 25 Donaldsonville 83-61 in the regional round of the LSHSAA Class 3A boys basketball playoffs.
A strong second-quarter effort propelled the Pelicans (24-6) to a lead they wouldn’t relinquish to the Tigers (21-9).
Both teams got out to fast starts, but the Pelicans were able to maintain control after two 3-pointers from Jordan Morgan.
At the end of the first quarter, Port Allen led 23-17 and never looked back. In the second, intensity built as emotions rose when Port Allen senior forward Ishmael Lane muscled through for two put-back dunks.
But the shooting of Port Allen’s Telson Allen made the difference. Allen made multiple 3-pointers in the second quarter and went on to score a game-high 27 points. At halftime, Port Allen led 41-26 in a sold-out DHS gym; officials turned fans away because of capacity.
Port Allen coach Brandon Ricard said it was a big effort for his Pelicans to come into a packed house and walk away with a 22-point win.
“The gym was packed at 6 o’clock, and there were no places to sit on the bench. It’s the type of atmosphere you live for and, if you don’t like this, you don’t need to play the game,” Ricard said. “But to come in here, keep the composure and play our game ... I love it.”
Ricard said the physical effort the Pelicans showed in the second quarter is just how they play.
“The officials were letting us play a little bit down low, and I have one of the best big men in the state with Ishmael, and we just used him down low and nobody could matchup with him,” Ricard said.
As far as the shooting of his guards, Ricard said lately the Pelicans have been able to fare well from outside.
First-year Donaldsonville coach Lionel Gilbert agreed that his Tigers lost control of the game in the second quarter.
“We went into a drought and, against a team like this, you can’t have a scoring drought,” he said. “You have to be able to put the ball in the hole.”
Early, it was senior forward Jaquel Gant who kept the Tigers in the game, posting 11 of his 17 points in the first half.
Later, junior guard Braxton Bernard fought to rally the struggling Tigers offense, leading the team with 19 points.