When the Pope John Paul II boys basketball team opened a 17-point lead in the first quarter of the Lakeshore Thanksgiving Classic, it appeared the game would be a rout.
It was, but as it turned out, it was the Jaguars who were on the wrong side of the final score.
Pearl River was outscored 20-3 in the opening quarter of a losers bracket game on Tuesday at Lakeshore High. But the Rebels answered with a 19-3 run that bridged the second and third quarters. They pulled away with an 8-0 run in the fourth quarter and claimed a 54-40 win over Pope John Paul II.
The Rebels outscored the Jaguars 29-11 in the final quarter.
Pearl River (1-5) will play Chalmette in the consolation bracket at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday. The Jaguars (1-2) will face Loranger in a losers bracket game at 10 a.m.
Pope John Paul II started the game on a 15-0 run. During the opening minutes of the quarter, Pearl River was out of sync and did nothing to stymie the Jaguars’ offense. Ryan Mundine led the way for PJP in the first quarter with a pair of 3-pointers and a basket off a baseline drive.
But Pearl River was undeterred. Andrew Floyd got the Rebels going by hitting a couple runners in the lane, and Dylan Solieau connected on a 3-pointer and a pair of free throws. Landarius Wilfred knocked down two of three free throws with 1.2 seconds remaining in the half to close the score to 23-16.
The third quarter belonged to Pearl River sophomore A.J. Taylor, who scored six points before PJP scored again. He got the Rebels to within one point, at 23-22, with a free throw with just under 6:00 left in the third quarter.
Soileau, who led Pearl River with 16 points, was fouled on a long-distance shot at the 5:07 mark and made three free throws to put the Rebels ahead for the first time.
The teams jockeyed for shots, and the lead, until a Jamerson Walker basket, which sparked the final 8-0 run for Pearl River.
Taylor scored 13 points for the Rebels and Wilfred added 12. Walker had seven points for Pearl River.
“Defense,” said Taylor, when asked about the difference in the first quarter and the rest of the game. “We’re young. We have to come together.”
Taylor said he played Tuesday night on an injured ankle after missing Monday’s tournament opener against Fontainebleau. He said he wrapped the ankle tightly and started to feel better with his game in the third quarter.
“If I don’t play, the team plays differently,” he said. “I wanted to be out there to help the team.”
Zach Piscotta, Payton Loupe, and Mundine led Pope John Paul II with eight points apiece.
In later games Tuesday, Northshore was set to play Slidell in the winners bracket; with Fontainebleau and host Lakeshore meeting in the final game of the day.
The winners of those two games will meet at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday to determine the tournament champion. The losers will meet in a third-place game at 1 p.m.