PORT ALLEN — The Madison Prep boys basketball team took control in the third quarter Tuesday night against Port Allen, scoring 16 straight points en route to a 78-56 win.
Defense provided the spark. Madison Prep (1-0) collected five steals during the three-minute surge, including thefts that disrupted four consecutive Port Allen possessions. By the time it was finished, Madison Prep had increased a 38-32 lead to 54-32.
Senior Jahein Spencer, who led all scorers with 23 points, had two steals and four points during the run.
“(Jahein) is the only returning starter,” said MPA coach Jeff Jones, whose program has won four consecutive LHSAA state titles in three different classifications.
“He knows that a lot is on his shoulders — not only just scoring but from a leadership standpoint, and also from a mentoring standpoint. Some nights will be big nights, but some nights he’ll have to be a facilitator and try to help those young guys get better.”
Also hitting double figures for the Chargers were Deziel Perkins (17), Marcus Guss (11) and Percy Daniels (10). Perkins and Guss each made three 3-pointers.
Still, Jones was apprehensive as he broke in a new lineup.
“We’ve graduated 21 seniors in the last three years,” Jones said. “We’ve got a lot of youngsters. Some of the guys that were with us when we won it last year will have a much more elevated role.”
Port Allen (3-3) got 16 points from Tawasky Johnson, and 11 each from Marcus Joseph and Kentae Williams.
The Pelicans trailed 34-23 at halftime but cut into the lead immediately. Port Allen hit two free throws before the third quarter even started when Madison Prep was issued a technical foul for a uniform violation.
Jalen Knox converted a three-point play, and baskets by Johnson and Julien Jarvis had Port Allen as close as 38-32 three minutes into the second half.
Madison Prep never trailed but took its time taking control of a slow-starting first half. Midway through the first quarter, the Chargers led 4-2. They got a boost from Spencer, who grabbed two quick steals.
Spencer took the first one to the basket for a dunk. After the second, he fed Deziel Perkins for an alley-oop. Perkins hit two 3-pointers before the end of the quarter as Madison Prep took a 14-6 lead.
The MPA lead grew to 25-12 in the second quarter. Port Allen got within 28-19, and the teams traded baskets before the Chargers settled for a 34-23 halftime lead.