The Northshore boys basketball team used its decided height advantage over Fontainebleau to clinch the Lakeshore Thanksgiving tournament on Wednesday.
The Panthers were led by senior center Will Claiborne, for whom the Bulldogs had no answer. Claiborne muscled his way to a game-high 21 points. He also added nine rebounds, seven blocks, two assists and two steals.
His effort was the main reason Northshore routed Fontainebleau 69-41.
“Coach (Joey Tolis) just told me to keep working and don’t lose my composure; don’t let the fans get inside my head,” Claiborne said. “He said use my size to my advantage.”
That wasn’t a problem against Fontainebleau, which plays in District 6-5A with Northshore. The Panthers got the ball inside early and often and stormed to a 19-4 lead at the end of the first quarter. A technical foul on the Fontainebleau bench kept momentum going for Northshore (3-1) to start the second quarter, and with just over a minute gone in the second, Northshore was on top 25-4.
The Panthers led 35-15 at halftime and maintained a 20-point margin for just about the remainder of the game before Tolis substituted liberally midway through the fourth. Even then, the Northshore second team was able to keep the offensive pressure on Fontainebleau (2-3.)
“They did a good job,” Fontainebleau coach Mike Gowland said. “Coach Tolis knew his team’s strength, and they worked it. Our guys were battling and battling. They played hard.”
Claiborne scored 12 of his 21 points in the decisive first half. Michael Musselman (a power forward for Northshore), scored 10 points — all in the first half. K.J. Hopkins scored eight of his 10 points before halftime.
Justin Mascaro led Fontainebleau with 13 points. Stephen Hebert and Roy Ford added seven points apiece for the Bulldogs.
In the third-place game earlier on Wednesday, Slidell defeated host Lakeshore 52-44. Chalmette defeated Pearl River in the consolation bracket final 57-13, while Loranger defeated Pope John Paul II 86-55 in the final losers bracket game on Wednesday morning.