LAKE CHARLES — This one wasn’t nearly as easy as the previous three playoff wins for Madison Prep.
But the Chargers found a way.
Now they get a shot at their third state championship in four years.
Madison Prep withstood a monster game from North Caddo big man Robert Williams and won 66-56 in double overtime of the Class 2A semifinals in the Allstate Sugar Bowl LHSA Boys Top 28 Tournament at Burton Coliseum.
“That was probably one of the most intense games we’ve been in in my six years at Madison Prep,” Chargers coach Jeff Jones said. “Robert Williams is probably the best kid we’ve played against ever. We knew they weren’t going to come in here and lay down.”
Top-seeded Madison Prep (30-4) will play No. 2 Riverside at 4 p.m. Saturday in a highly-anticipated Class 2A championship game.
The Chargers are looking to add a 2A trophy to their trophy case after winning a Class B crown in 2013 and a 1A title last season.
Getting past No. 4 North Caddo was much tougher than the first three rounds when Madison Prep won every game by at least 43 points.
“It was real tough, going into overtime twice,” junior guard Josh Anderson said. “We knew we had to fight, and I’m just proud of my team.”
Anderson finished with a game-high 27 points on a scorching 11-of-14 shooting from the floor. Josh LeBlanc added 13 points, and Marquis Browder had 11 for the Chargers, who pushed their winning streak to 16 straight games.
The game was still hanging in the balance with just a minute left in the second overtime, and Madison Prep clinging to a 57-56 lead. That’s when LeBlanc drove to the lane and threw down a monster dunk.
“Coach said ‘go,’ so I got it and went,” LeBlanc said.
An intentional foul was also called on the play, and North Caddo began to unravel. The Rebels (29-6) didn’t score again.
“I thought we had a chance to win this game in regulation,” North Caddo coach Ron Meikle said. “But I thought we made some mistakes that sometimes young guys make. We paid the price for it. We let them back in the game, and just like that we get the momentum. We just ran out of gas.”
The 6-foot-9 Williams, a Texas A&M signee, finished with 25 points, 11 rebounds and nine blocked shots. He also had three assists.
“I knew it was possibly my last game, so I knew I had to give it everything I got,” Williams said.
Williams came up with a key block at the end of regulation that sent the game into overtime.
“We knew coming into the game he was going to try to block everything,” Anderson said. “You either go around him or try to pump-fake him. I was just trying to go around him.”
North Caddo had its chances before that, leading 45-41 with 1:23 left.
But Anderson converted on a three-point play and then scored on a layup to close out regulation. North Caddo had its chances but had three costly turnovers down the stretch.
“We could have shut it down and gave up several times,” Jones said. “But they just refused to stop. They kept fighting and kept fighting. I’m proud of the resiliency they showed.”
Kobe Julien’s layup with 15 seconds left in the first overtime forced another one. Then Browder made a 3-pointer to start the second overtime, and the Chargers never trailed again.
“It was definitely an old school, throwback type game,” Jones said. “It was like a heavyweight fight. They hit us in the mouth.
“We hit them back in the mouth. We expected that coming in.”