West Jefferson seniors Trevonta Robertson and Jonathan Dalton have played basketball together since their middle school days at Livaudais Middle School.
They weren’t about to let Tuesday’s Class 5A regional round playoff game be their final game together.
Robertson had a huge third quarter, and Dalton stepped up big late in the fourth, including a key free throw late, to lift West Jefferson to a thrilling 47-46 victory over visiting Brother Martin.
“We don’t want the next game to be our last one either,” Robertson said.
Robertson finished with a game-high 16 points for the No. 8 Buccaneers (23-12), who will travel to face top-seed Natchitoches Central in the quarterfinals.
Dalton finished with 12 points, none bigger than his free throw with 15.9 seconds left that gave West Jeff a four-point lead, 47-43.
“I wanted to make both of them, but I made one and that made it a two-possession game, so that was good enough. I knew they were big shots, and I didn’t want to let my team down. I’m glad I made at least one.”
Brother Martin’s Venjie Wallis hit a 3-pointer as time expired, but it was too little, too late for the No. 9 Crusaders (22-9).
“Give all the credit to West Jefferson,” Brother Martin coach Chris Biehl said. “It was 50-50. I think if we play each other 100 times, they win 50 and we win 50. They were the better team tonight.”
The teams went back and forth throughout, with West Jefferson leading 24-20 at halftime. Robertson helped the Buccaneers get a little cushion in the third, though, scoring on back-to-back three-point plays. He scored West Jeff’s last 10 points in the quarter.
“Coach told me to attack and be aggressive and for us to try to pull away, so that’s what I did,” Robertson said.
West Jeff maintained that eight-point lead through most of the fourth quarter until the Crusaders rallied. A 3-pointer from Bruce Jordan-Swilling and a steal and layup by Wallis cut it to 44-41 with a minute left. But Brother Martin never regained the lead.
Dalton made sure they didn’t at the end.
“Jonathan keeps us steady,” West Jeff coach Brian Simmons said. “He does a great job when the game is on the line. And Trevonta has been consistent all year. He is a two-way player, plays offense and defense.”
West Jeff advances to the quarterfinals for the first time since 2006.
“When we started the season, our whole thing was to be the best West Jeff team ever,” said Simmons, in his second season. “Now, we are tied with that team and to surpass them would be big.”
Wallis led Brother Martin with 14 points and Tre Swilling finished with 13.
It was the final high school game for seniors Wallis, Jared West, Travis Epps, Drew Lewis and Luke Walker.
“They are the epitome of a student-athlete,” said Biehl about his senior quintet. “They excel in the classroom and on the court. They are warriors. I truly love those five boys.”
The six seniors for West Jefferson, meanwhile, get to play another day, with a trip to Lake Charles up for grabs against Natchitoches. Robertson and Dalton are ready for the task.
“It’s always good to make school history,” Robertson said. “We have tied the record, but hopefully we can go past that.”