The prevailing theme in the boys/girls District 6-1A doubleheader between Southern Lab and White Castle was championships.
Southern Lab’s boys gained a share of one, while White Castle’s girls are now in a three-way tie for league supremacy.
“They’re hungry for it,” White Castle girls coach Tammy Pierce said. “I asked them after the game if they were full. They said no, they’re still hungry.”
Southern Lab’s boys rode balanced scoring and a strong second half to a 64-50 victory Saturday over White Castle at the F.G. Clark Activity Center.
The Kittens (20-8, 10-0) earned a share of the 6-1A title with two games remaining.
“We’re playing well with a lot of momentum,” said Southern Lab boys coach Devan Clark, whose team won its fifth straight game and ninth in its past 10 games.
“We hope to build off of (the win streak). We’ve got teams coming up, and we’re not going to overlook anybody.”
White Castle’s girls avenged a four-point home loss, getting a steal under Southern Lab’s basket at the buzzer to secure a 48-47 victory.
The Bulldogs (12-14, 9-2) created a tie for the league’s top spot along with Southern Lab (22-5, 9-2) and Kentwood (14-9, 9-2), the latter they will host Monday.
SOUTHERN LAB 64, WHITE CASTLE 50: Guard Brenden Vessel, the hero in Lab’s 49-47 win at White Castle, helped the Kittens gain separation from the Bulldogs (16-10, 8-2) midway through the fourth quarter.
Vessel scored five straight of his 12 points on a pair of free throws and three-point play, capping a 9-2 run and resulted in a 55-44 lead with 3:44 showing.
Southern Lab went on to make 6-of-9 shots in the fourth quarter and 52 percent in the second half where the Kittens outscored the Bulldogs, 38-21.
Dexter Dennis’ 15 points topped four players from Southern Lab in double figures along with Tyreon Payne (13), Azahred Ernest (12) and Vessel.
Tre’ Melancon led WCHS with 21, including five 3-pointers. Ja’Tyre Carter added 14.
The Bulldogs, who led 29-26 at halftime on a 3-pointer from Melancon, struggled from the field in the second half, shooting 28 percent and were just 1 of 10 from behind the arc.
“That’s a great team, a good shooting team and disciplined. They play hard,” Clark said. “They stepped up and made some shots. We had to make an adjustment, and we did that in the second half.”
WHITE CASTLE 48, SOUTHERN LAB 47: Southern Lab erased a seven-point deficit midway through the third quarter to pull even at 38 after three quarter on Salis Payne’s 3-pointer.
The lead changed hands for the seventh time when leading scorer Ashanti Knight (25 points) gave White Castle a 42-41 lead with 6:27 left on a steal and field goal.
Payne, who drew box-in-one defensive attention in the second half, scored 17 and put Southern Lab back in front 47-46 with 2:42 to go on a 15-footer.
Sophomore center Cailain Williams, an LSU commitment, led the Kittens with 21 points.
Jakayla Washington provided the difference for the Bulldogs with a pair of free throws that made it 48-47 with 2:14 left.
Southern Lab, which was only 3-of-9 in the fourth quarter, had two possessions in the last 7.1 seconds but a running 10-footer from Tarkeia LeFlore hit off the side of the rim and Knight secured the Kittens’ seventh turnover of the quarter.
“They control their own destiny,” said Pierce, who also got 18 points from Brooklyn Falcon. “That was the whole focus this week. Telling them this was for the district championship right here.”