LAKE CHARLES — The Lafayette Christian Academy basketball team squandered a second-half double-digit lead, but stayed tough and pulled out a hard-fought 69-63 win against Washington-Marion on Friday night in the quarterfinals of the Sunday Players’ Battle in the Lake tournament at Hamilton Christian Academy.
The Knights (4-0) took a 48-41 lead in the fourth quarter, which the Chargin’ Indians (2-2) promptly erased when they took a 55-54 lead midway through the fourth, their first lead since early in the first quarter.
Washington-Marion completed the comeback largely from behind the 3-point line, where it shot 4-for-6 in the fourth quarter.
“We just weren’t closing out well enough,” LCA coach Byron Starks said. “We didn’t get there quick enough. There were missed assignments.”
LCA never lost its composure, however, as both teams traded buckets before the Knights forced Washington-Marion into committing turnovers on back-to-back possessions and took advantage at the free-throw line to regain a 60-59 lead.
With less than two minutes remaining, senior guard Jacob LeDoux hit a 3-pointer that turned out to be the dagger as it put LCA ahead 63-59.
The Knights continued to play good pressure defense, forcing Washington-Marion to commit six turnovers in the final period, and hit its free throws until time ran out to seal the victory.
“I’m really proud of my team because we grinded it out,” Starks said. “Most people look at us as a run-and-gun team. We made sure we executed, moved the ball and did the little things well.”
The usual trio of sophomore Greg Williams and seniors Jacob and Kalob Ledoux led LCA as they combined for all but six of the Knights’ points.
Jacob LeDoux was lights out throughout the contest, shooting 11-for-15 from the field for a game-high 29 points, while his twin brother, Kalob LeDoux, added 19 points, shooting 50 percent from the field.
Williams made his biggest impact in the all-important fourth quarter when he scored 10 of his 15 points shooting four-for-six from the field, helping to lift the Knights to the victory.
“(Williams) put the team on his shoulders,” Starks said. “He knew it was crunch time, we talked about must-have buckets and he got us some solid baskets.”
The win put LCA in the semifinals of the tournament where it will play either Ruston or Madison Prep in what would be a rematch of the 2015 Class 1A state title game.
LANDRY-WALKER 60, NORTHSIDE 53: Northside nearly erased an 18-point halftime lead against Landry-Walker, but fell just short.
After shooting 1-for-11 for just four points in the first quarter and being outscored 18-9 in the second, the Vikings (3-1) found themselves trailing 31-13 heading to the locker room for halftime.
But Northside came out for the second half and looked like a completely different team as its offense began to click and it outscored the Chargin’ Bucs (4-1) 18-10 in the third quarter to cut the lead to a manageable 10 points.
Two minutes into the fourth quarter, guard Darius Randell hit a 3-pointer that cut Landry-Walker’s lead to 46-40. On the ensuing possession the Bucs turned it over on a charge and Vikings hit a layup, bringing them within four.
Landry-Walker extended its lead with a 3-pointer, but the pesky Northside squad never died. With just more than three minutes remaining, Randell was fouled on a 3-point shot and made two to make the score 52-48.
But that’s as close as the Vikings would get, as Landry-Walker proceeded to score six unanswered to put the game away.
“It’s a good lesson learned for us, good experience and they did what I asked them to do in the second half and fought hard,” Northside coach Ross Rix said. “I’m very proud of them. They fought their butts off and I think that’s a good sign for us moving forward.”
Northside will return to action 9 a.m. Saturday when it plays tournament host Hamilton Christian.
ST. MARTINVILLE 77, LAKEVIEW 58: St. Martinville staved off a comeback attempt by Lakeview and held on to win in a consolation bracket game.
The Tigers (3-3) led 29-19 at half, but the Gators (4-4) found their offensive groove in the second half and slowly gnawed away at the lead and eventually cut St. Martinville’s lead to 46-42 midway through the fourth with a 6-2 run.
St. Martinville stayed composed, however and never relinquished its lead on the way to the win.