LAKE CHARLES — “Defense wins championships” is a cliché most people think is used too much. Don’t tell that to top-seeded Jehovah-Jireh.
JCA turned 31 turnovers into 58 points to overwhelm Crowley’s Northside Christian 103-39 in a Division V select semifinal game at the Allstate Sugar Bowl/LHSAA Boys Basketball tournament.
Included in the effort was a 41-point third quarter in which Jehovah-Jireh nearly doubled its first-half point total.
“We started off a little slow and then we picked it up on the defensive end," JCA coach Dirk Ricks said. "We shot the ball much better in the second half. This group all year has been very good with attention to details.
“Early on, our goal was to attack the middle of their defense, and I thought Timothy (Jackson) did a good job catching and scoring. And we did a good job getting it to him.”
With the Tuesday win, defending champion Jehovah-Jireh (36-6) advances to play No. 2 seed Crescent City (25-13) for the third straight year in the Division V final. Crescent City won the 2017 title. The teams square off at 10 a.m. Friday at Burton Coliseum.
Jackson finished with 18 points and 14 rebounds but was not the top scorer for reigning Division V champion JCA. John-Paul Ricks scored 14 second-half points and finished with a game-high 22, a total that included six 3-pointers.
Point guard Jaron Davis also put up big numbers with 16 points and 12 assists, along with four steals. Davis was the catalyst who found teammates in transition. Brandon Harton Jr. (11) and Roderick Dominique (10) were the other double-figure scorers for JCA. Lance Martin led Northside (23-13) with 13.
Northside stayed close for the first four minutes and even held a 7-6 lead after Nick Jones drove the lane to score. Jehovah-Jireh quickly closed down the gaps and scored 12 of the final 13 points in the first quarter.
Ricks had two 3-pointers during JCA’s prolific third period that saw the defending champions take an 84-31 lead. Jehovah-Jireh made 66.7 percent of its field goal attempts (16 of 24) in the third period.
“We didn’t come out making our shots or attacking the basket. In the second half we played much faster and we refocused,” JCA’s Davis said. “We knew they did not want to go at our pace.”
Like everyone else, Northside coach Tracie Clement noted Jehovah-Jireh’s defense and determination.
“We did prepare for them. I knew pretty much what they were going to do,” Clement said. “They were very scrappy, and I did not expect that. Their hands were everywhere. They played great defense and their defense is what brought their offense along.”