LAKE CHARLES — Sophie B. Wright's season is one that will be remembered on Napoleon Avenue for years to come.
The foundation was laid as the Warriors reached the LHSAA boys basketball tournament for the first time in the school's brief history.
But the season came to an abrupt end, thanks to a rare off shooting night that doomed Sophie B. Wright in a 70-54 loss to defending Class 3A state champion Peabody in Wednesday's semifinal at Burton Coliseum.
"I'm so proud of these young men," Warriors coach Jason Bertrand said. "I thought they played well. We just didn't have our best stuff tonight. It happens. This was a great run and a first for our school. These young men gave us everything. Peabody outplayed us tonight."
No. 2 Peabody (34-2) will try to repeat at 4 p.m. on Saturday against No. 1 Madison Prep, which beat No. 4 Wossman 62-47 in Wednesday's other semifinal.
The Warriors, who had their 10-game winning streak snapped, finished 30-6. It was their first loss since losing to Peabody 64-57 in the regular season in Alexandria.
"It was a great year, a first of many I feel," Warriors forward Damiree Burns said. "We just couldn't get the job done. We're not finished."
Greg Hammond led the Warriors (30-6) with 20 points. Burns and Charlie Russell scored nine each. Burns also grabbed a team-high 10 rebounds.
It was the slow start that did the Warriors in.
Peabody got off to a fast start, outscoring Wright 19-6 in the opening quarter thanks in part to two 3-pointers each by Marcus Jones and Kyron Gibson. The Warriors trimmed their deficit to four (25-21) with 1:42 left in the half on Charlie Russell's 3-pointer, but the Warhorses surged ahead again closing the quarter on an 8-2 run to take a 33-23 halftime lead.
"We normally start fast," Bertrand said. "If you would've told me we would have a first quarter like that, I would have bet a whole lot of money on it. We just couldn't put the ball in the basket early, and we ended up having to chase."
After being down by as many as 18 in the third, Wright got within nine midway through the fourth after back-to-back baskets from Prince Campbell to cap off an 8-0 run.
Each time the Warriors got close though, the Warhorses answered.
Wright didn't help its cause from the free-throw line, going 10 of 24.
"A lot of stuff tonight was out of character," Bertrand said.
It was evident from the beginning.
Wright shot 7 of 25 (28 percent) in the first two quarters and made just 5 of 12 free throws.
Things didn't get much better in the third as Peabody started the quarter on a 5-0 run to stretch its lead to 38-23 just two minutes into the quarter. The Warhorses' biggest lead was 18 with 16.3 seconds left in the third.
"We try to come out and play a smothering type defense to take the team out of their game plan, and I think we did that," said Peabody coach Charles Smith. "We tried to take them out of their comfort zone."
Smith, one of four coaches in Louisiana with more than 1,000 career victories, will go for his eighth state championship Saturday.
Kyron Gibson's 26 points and Darius Smith's 12 led the Warhorses.
Wright got as close as nine in the fourth quarter, but could get no closer.
It was the final game for Campbell, a senior who has played for the Warriors since the days when the school didn't have its own gym.
"Tonight just wasn't our night," Campbell said. "I'm expecting these guys to be right back here again."
Bertrand, in his fifth season, has similar expectations.
"It's a culture that we are building," Bertrand said. "I've had them since they were babies. Nobody had ever heard of Sophie B. Wright until these gentleman stepped in. We have to eat this one. We will get better. We will press the restart button and do it again."