LAKE CHARLES — The Lafayette Christian Academy basketball team finished second Saturday in the Sunday Players Battle in the Lake basketball tournament hosted by Hamilton Christian Academy and featuring some of Louisiana’s premier basketball teams.
The Knights (5-1) fell to Scotlandville 69-60 in the tournament’s championship game, but not before they avenged their loss in the state championship game with a 60-56 victory against Madison Prep and sophomore forward Greg Williams put on a show against one of the nation’s most highly touted members of his class.
“Williams always touches in every stat category, whether it’s rebounding, getting steals, making big shots or free throw,” LCA coach Byron Starks said. “He’s just an all-purpose guy. He does whatever he needs us to do, whether it be bring the ball up the court or play the post. He’s one of those go-to guys, and for a sophomore, he’s a very heads-up kid.”
The sophomore put on career performances in both of LCA’s games Saturday, posting a double-double against Madison Prep with 17 points, 10 rebounds, three blocks and two steals before going toe-to-toe with fellow sophomore and national prospect Javonte Smart in the championship game.
Smart and Williams battled each other throughout the game, finishing with a combined 55 points. Williams shot 11-for-16 for 26 points in the showcase, while Smart finished with a game-high 29-points that helped earn him the tournament’s Most Valuable Player award.
“Greg is an animal, he really is an animal,” said Scotlandville coach Carlos Sample, who has known Williams’ father since childhood. “He’s something special and he can only get better. I’m looking forward to great things out of him. … (Williams and Smart) competed well against each other. It’s all in fun. I think they brought the best out of each other.”
LCA led the championship game 16-14 after the first quarter, but Scotlandville took a 33-24 lead after a spree of three unanswered 3-pointers on consecutive possessions and LC never fully recovered as the Hornets held a comfortable lead for the remainder of the contest.
The Knights’ victory against Madison Prep came in an exciting tournament semifinal contest that featured 15 lead changes, as the 2015 Class 1A state title game rematch went down to the wire.
LCA trailed for a majority of the contest, but never let the Chargers’ lead grow to more than six before finishing on the winning side of a back-and-forth fourth quarter that saw four lead changes and ended with a game-winning dunk by Williams.
“Hats off to Madison Prep once again,” Starks said. “They have a solid program. I think our guys came out today, played hard stuck to the game plan and our mind was focused. When we do those things, we’re tough to beat.”
A tightly contested first quarter ended with Madison Prep holding 18-17 advantage, but LCA seemed to hit its offensive stride when it opened the second quarter with a 6-0 run to take a 23-18 lead.
The Knights’ offensive production quickly thereafter came to a halt, however, as they proceeded to go on a scoring drought that lasted nearly six minutes. Williams finally ended the silence on offense with a jumper with 10 seconds remaining, but not before the Chargers took advantage with an 11-0 run, as Madison Prep took a 29-25 lead into the half.
The Chargers remained in control for nearly the entire third, but LCA stayed on their heels until finally tying the game at 42 apiece when senior guard Kalob LeDoux hit a three with 11 seconds remaining in the quarter.
The Knights took their first lead of the second half early in the fourth quarter on a Kalob LeDoux and-one, and the game went back-and-forth from there, neither team building a lead more than three until the end of the contest.
With the game tied at 56 apiece and a little over a minute remaining, LCA grabbed what would turn out to be a pivotal rebound, as the Knights proceeded to hold the ball until calling a timeout with 20 seconds remaining.
Out of the timeout, the Knights passed the ball several times looking for a good shot until guard Michael Harden found a wide-open Greg Williams who drove in and slammed it home with 10 seconds remaining on the clock to give LCA a 58-56 lead.
“That’s called players making plays,” Starks said. “We wanted to get the best shot possible. We went into our five-out offense and just moved the ball. Thankfully he was open at that moment, and we were able to get that basket.”
The Chargers’ turned the ball over on the ensuing inbounds pass, and Williams hit a pair of free throws to seal the Warriors’ victory.
Other Acadiana-area teams who participated in the tournament Saturday include Northside, which finished sixth place after a comeback win against Hamilton Christian and a loss to Ruston, St. Martinville, which finished second in the consolation bracket with wins against Ouachita and a loss to West Jefferson, and New Iberia.