Avenging an earlier season loss to their parish rival Slidell, the Lakeshore Titans defeated the Tigers 49-40 Friday night.
Lakeshore (12-6) was led by Ashon Cook, who had a game-high 16 points. Dillon Smith had 12 points and Grant Stiebing had 10.
Slidell (7-6) was led by John Paul-Fugate’s 12 points, all from the 3-point line and 11 points from senior Reuben Cousin.
Trailing 19-16 coming out of halftime, Lakeshore scored the first four points of the third quarter, and a three-point play by Cook gave the Titans a 20-19 lead.
Lakeshore went on a 10-0 run midway through the third quarter and held Slidell without a point for nearly five minutes to take a 30-24 lead. Slidell cut the lead to 36-33 on a Cousin bucket, but the Titans responded with a layup by Cook and a key 3-pointer by Stiebing to push the lead back to 41-33.
The Lakeshore defense was equally as stifling in the final quarter, as Lakeshore held Slidell without a point for over five minutes.
“In the second half, we just made a concentrated effort to drive the ball to the basket,” Cook said, “instead of shooting so many 3-pointers. We just went to the basket and looked for easy shots, and at worse we knew we would end up at the free-throw line. Add to that the fact that we picked up the defensive intensity. That helps you win games.”
Both teams struggled to score points in the first half, in particular the first quarter. Slidell and Lakeshore combined for only four field goals in a 6-6 first quarter.
Things didn’t get much better in the second quarter as both struggled to hit shots and make free throws. Slidell went 2-for-12 from the free-throw line in the first half and 6-for-19 for the game.
Trailing Lakeshore 12-11 with 4:56 to go in the first half, an 8-1 run by Slidell, paced by a pair of 3-pointers by Cousin, gave them a 19-13 lead.
“Everybody is on Christmas break and as a player you almost miss that pattern you get in with school and then practice and/or a game,” Cook said. “It’s still kind of weird that we are just waking up and going to practice or a game. It is going to be good to get back into that pattern once school starts again next week.”
The struggles at the free- throw line were so bad for the Tigers in the first half that coach Dale Chimento had his team shooting free throws for the entire halftime break.
In their previous matchup, Slidell defeated Lakeshore 54-44 on Nov. 26.
“We knew that these guys (Slidell) beat us last time,” Cook said. “It is always nice to learn from a game like that and come back and avenge it with a win.”