Port Allen doesn’t take its annual invitation to the Madison Prep Classic tournament very lightly.

“I want to be competitive in a tournament like this, so we can get invited back,” Port Allen coach Brandon Ricard said.

Port Allen took a step in the right direction, overcoming a nine-point deficit in the third quarter to pull away from Ellender 62-50 in the first game of Thursday’s quarterfinals.

The Pelicans (7-4) advance to face tournament host Madison Prep, a 68-42 winner over Delhi, at 8:30 p.m. Friday

The other semifinal will match Northside, a 48-34 winner over McKinley, against West Jefferson, a 59-32 winner over Southern Lab, at 7 p.m.

PORT ALLEN 62, ELLENDER 50: The Pelicans (7-4) outscored the Patriots (9-3) 21-6 in the fourth quarter, erasing a 50-41 deficit.

Guard Nigel Allen scored 14 of his game-high 30 points in the fourth quarter, while Andre Williams added 18.

“I think our kids play to the level of the opponent,” Ricard said. “We realized we’re a good team and played well.”

NORTHSIDE 48, MCKINLEY 34: Guard Darius Randell scored a game-high 28 points to lead Northside over McKinley.

The game was tied at 13 midway through the second quarter when Northside (6-3) took control, finishing on a 12-5 run that Randell capped with a 3-pointer with 10 seconds left for a 25-18 lead.

“They really put a lot of pressure on us and took us out of rhythm,” McKinley coach Harold Boudreaux said. “They made it tough. Everything we tried, they answered.”

McKinley (7-3) failed to reach double digits in any of the four quarters.

Five straight points from Russell Daniels and Tyrese Radford cut Northside’s lead to 33-27 with 1:38 left in the third quarter before the Vikings answered with five straight to lead 38-27.

Daniels led McKinley with 14 points.

WEST JEFFERSON 59, SOUTHERN LAB 32: Rodrick Hayes’ free throw in the first seven seconds of the game turned out to be Southern Lab’s only lead.

West Jefferson (10-2) reeled off the next 17 points, led by 10 from Casey Ransaw and built a 23-3 first-quarter lead when Ray Anderson’s 3-pointer beat the buzzer.

Southern Lab (7-4) enjoyed its best run of the game — a 5-0 spurt to open the second quarter — with Tyreon Payne converting a three-point play and Rodrick Hayes scoring on a layup to make it 23-8.

The Buccaneers, who won for the eighth straight game, finished the second quarter on a 17-6 run, expanding their lead to 39-14 at halftime when Ransaw also beat the clock with a 3-pointer.

Payne topped Southern Lab with 11, while Dexter Dennis had 10.