BRUSLY — The intensity was high and the guards were hot when West Side rivals Brusly and Port Allen got together in a District 7-3A battle on Tuesday night at Brusly.
Brusly guard DeMario Jackson scored a career-high 33 points, including 16-of-17 from the free-throw line, in out-dueling Port Allen guard Nick Parker (19 points) and leading the No. 9 ranked Panthers to a 55-44 win.
Port Allen (16-7, 3-2 in district) had five players going chest-to-chest with Jackson on defense, but that didn’t surprise him.
“It’s always going to be a good fight against Port Allen because they want to beat us, and we want to beat them,” Jackson said. “We know we’ll have to play all four quarters, and both teams will play hard.
“Coach prepares me and prepares the team (for the extra defensive attention), and we just have to deal with it. It’s the same thing every game.”
As for the the one errant free throw?
“No excuses. I just missed it.”
Neither team started well offensively. After the first three minutes, the score was 2-2 and each team had committed five turnovers. Parker got the Pelicans started with three field goals and a free throw, while Brusly had a field goal from all five starters as the Panthers led 12-10 after one quarter.
The second quarter started out all Jackson, as the 5-10 guard tallied eight of Brusly’s 11 points in the quarter. Parker scored four, including a coast-to-coast basket on a steal.
The intensity picked up when Port Allen’s Darian Claiborne and Brusly’s Micah Spears were called for a double foul, then whistled again for a second double foul before the ball could be put in play.
The Pelicans were a cold 2-for-6 from the free-throw line in the first half. Brusly shot only three free throws, making one, but managed a 23-20 halftime lead.
The third quarter was the turning point. Port Allen was whistled for two technical fouls, and Jackson converted all four free throws on his way to eight points in the quarter.
Port Allen coach Brandon Ricard was not happy with the technical foul situation or with his team’s overall play.
“The referees didn’t see our kid get hit in the mouth trying to get through. They only saw him respond, and that meant two free throws on the foul and two more on the technical…four points.
“I can see if the refs saw it that way, but late in the game Nick was trying to get to the line (on an inbounds play) and he got pushed in the chest. That should have been a technical. That’s what I’m unhappy about.
“But we got outrebounded because we didn’t box out, and defensively we didn’t follow our game plan. DeMario is a good player, but we didn’t do anything on defense we wanted to.”
Brusly (17-7, 3-2)had its biggest lead at 50-36 with 3:14 remaining, but one last Port Allen surge cut it to 50-44 with 1:13 left before the Panthers scored the last five points.
“Intense game tonight, tight first quarter,” Brusly coach Harold Boudreaux said. “I told our team you have to come in tough, forget about the ratings and just play between the black lines, and I think that’s what they gave me tonight. “They were playing tough defense, so we kind of had to change it up, go with a different scheme, and it worked out for us.”
Telson Allen and Jarius Turner each contributed eight points for the Pelicans.