With its most recognizable name on the training table, Madison Prep stymied McKinley in a crucial third quarter to capture its first EBR/Bob Pettit/Coca-Cola Parish Tournament championship in school history Monday with a 56-42 win at Southern’s F.G. Clark Activity Center.
Chargers guard Brandon Sampson, who scored eight of his team’s 16 first-quarter points, went down with 24.3 seconds left in the period after absorbing a hard, intentional foul on a baseline drive to the basket. He landed awkwardly on his right elbow.
Madison Prep coach Jeff Jones played Sampson for about a minute in the second quarter before pulling him for the rest of the game. Sampson spent the entire second half on a training table, his head resting in one arm and a sling with an ice pack occupying the other.
Jones didn’t have any details on Sampson’s injury after the game, but he said the LSU target would get X-rays to determine the severity.
The injury, while an unwelcome sight for the Chargers, was not unfamiliar. Sampson was hurt in the Chargers’ 56-46 season-opening victory against St. Michael, forcing sophomore Josh Anderson to shoulder the load with 27 points.
Another injury, another 20-plus point night for Anderson.
“Me and Christian (Thompson) knew we had to step up to get the win,” said Anderson, who finished with a game-high 21 points. “I stepped up against St. Michael, and I knew I had to step up again.”
Anderson reeled off six straight Chargers points in the decisive third quarter, including a one-handed reverse baseline layup that gave Madison Prep its first double-digit lead of the game with 2:20 to go in the third quarter.
All-tournament team member Thompson added 10 points, and Jalen Brown had two crucial layups late to quell a Panthers rally that cut Madison Prep’s lead to single digits.
Struggling to contain McKinley’s stout front line, Jones switched to a 2-3 zone and more help defense midway through the game, which held the Panthers to only six points in the third quarter.
“Tried to negate some of that inside stuff, forced them a little more on the perimeter, slow the game down a little bit,” Jones said. “Our guys played their butts off.”
Facing a 10-point deficit entering the final quarter, McKinley clawed back behind two Keion Brown 3-pointers that cut the Chargers’ lead to five with six minutes left.
It was all the juice the Panthers had left after an emotionally charged victory Sunday against No. 1 seed Scotlandville, the three-time defending tournament champion.
“Our guys had nothing left,” coach Marvin Dotson said. “We came out really, really flat, and I really commend our guys for the fight they put up. I take nothing from Madison Prep; they’re a talented group 1 through 5. I knew even with fresh legs it was going to be a battle.”
In his team’s second year in the tournament, Jones was ecstatic to grab the green and yellow banner that proclaimed his Chargers parish champions, though he was quick to put the victory in perspective.
“This year, we’re trying to be more about team,” he said, reeling off nearly his entire roster in praise. “Just a total team effort.”