Landry-Walker knew what it was getting into when it faced Westbury Christian (Houston), a team it saw compete in the Beaumont Central Tournament a week earlier.
The scouting report proved true, as Louisiana’s two-time defending Class 4A champions were pushed to the brink. Fortunately for Landry-Walker, it had enough contributors to hold on for the victory.
Landry-Walker withstood a furious third-quarter rally and showed grit over the final nine minutes to secure a hard-earned 60-57 win in the first round of the sixth annual Allstate Sugar Bowl Prep Classic in Westwego’s Alario Center on Wednesday night.
“It helped that we saw this team in Texas,” Landry-Walker coach Brian Gibson said. “We knew they were never going to stop playing. That’s a credit to them. I just felt we were the better team. We played good defense, and even though we didn’t shoot the ball extremely well like we normally do, we made enough shots.”
Landry-Walker (9-5) found a rhythm on offense early on to build a 29-20 halftime lead before Westbury caught fire in the third quarter.
Westbury’s Christian Barrett tied the game at 36 with 2:50 to remaining in the third quarter before guard Marlin Davis II gave his team a two-point lead for the first time seconds later.
“They kept playing, kept fighting,” Landry-Walker assistant Antoine Byrd said. “They took a bunch of quick shots and got out in transition on us, and that was big.”
Westbury opened the second half on an 11-4 run and tied the game for the first time with 2:50 to play in the third quarter. Seconds later, Marlin Davis II’s layup put Westbury ahead 38-36 for the team’s first lead of the game.
Landry-Walker junior Keytaon Thompson, who scored seven of Landry-Walker’s 11 third-quarter points, came through with a steal of the inbounds pass and dished out to point guard Lamont Berzat for the go-ahead bucket to end the quarter.
The Charging Bucs opened the fourth quarter on a 12-5 run thanks in part to multiple buckets from both Berzat and Khalil Williams. Ahead by three with 57 seconds remaining, Thompson again made an assist — this time to Devante Jason — to push the lead back to five.
Thompson finished with 12 points, seven rebounds and four blocks. Landry-Walker was led by Berzat’s 20 points, and Lamar Peters added eight points and six assists.
“We knew they were a hard-fought team and they weren’t going to back down,” Berzat said. “We know that no matter how much we were going to come, they were going to come back. We had to slow the ball down on offense because they were speeding the game to their level. We slowed it down, then shut it down with our defense”
Landry-Walker will face the winner of Country Day-University at 9 p.m. Thursday in the second round of the tournament.