LAKE CHARLES — The top-seeded St. Thomas More had its hopes of a state championship dashed Thursday afternoon as Bossier erased a nine-point second half deficit to defeat the Cougars 49-48 in the first Class 4A semifinal game at the Allstate Sugar Bowl/LHSAA Boys’ Top 28 basketball tournament.

STM (31-8) led a majority of the contest, but the Bearkats (26-10) hit timely shots and held the Cougars to 17 points in the second half to ultimately earn a spot in its seventh state title game.

“That’s a tough loss,” said STM coach Danny Broussard. “I thought we played a great first half, but not so good in the second. We just didn’t make the plays we needed to make.”

The game came down to the wire, and was ultimately decided in the final minute when Bossier junior Antonio “Rudy” Davis made a nice post move for a layup that would prove to be the game-winning shot. Davis’ game-winner to put Bossier in the state finals came just three days after the death of his sister, a tragedy he and his teammates cited as a motivating factor going into the Top 28 tournament.

“We wanted to win for her, the coaching staff and the seniors,” Davis said. “I had to step up for them. It wasn’t about me. It was about everybody.

The Cougars scored 18 points in the second quarter to take a 31-24 lead into the halftime break, but they quickly saw a 9-point third quarter lead dwindle down to 40-37 going into the fourth quarter.

Bossier took its first lead of the game midway through the fourth quarter, but it was short-lived as Bearkats junior guard Chris Davenport was called for a technical foul, allowing STM senior guard Trevor Begue hit a pair of free throws to put the Cougars back ahead 42-41.

It seemed STM had regained momentum when sophomore guard Jonathan Cisse hit a 3 that put the Cougars up by four, but Bossier guard Tyrese English responded immediately as he banked in a long 3 on the other end to cut it back to one point.

“You kind of know it might not be going your way when he takes a 29 or 30-foot jump shot off the backboard,” Broussard said. “That was a tough one.”

The two teams traded leads for the remainder of the contest until Davis hit his game winner with 22 seconds remaining on the clock.

The Cougars had an opportunity for a game-winner coming out of a timeout with 14 seconds left, but English garnered a steal and Bossier was able to expire the clock and seal the victory.

“I thought we played a great game, it just didn’t go our way at the end,” Begue said. I have so much respect for these guys up here and this team. Nobody thought we were going to be here, and look at where we are now.”

Begue and fellow senior DeV’ante Benjamin led the Cougars in scoring with 11 points apiece, and Cisse finished with 10. English finished with a game-high 16 for Bossier.