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Jehovah Jireh's Timothy Jackson and Jehovah Jireh's Jaron Davis walk of the court with the trophy after winning the Division V championship game of the LHSAA Boy's Marsh Madness State Basketball Tournament at Burton Coliseum in Lake Charles, La., Friday, March 8, 2019. (Rick Hickman/Lake Charles American Press)

LAKE CHARLES — Crescent City never believed the game was out of reach, even when facing a 15-point deficit. The Pioneers kept battling in the Division V title game that opened Friday’s action at the Allstate Sugar Bowl/LHSAA Boys Basketball tournament.

But defending champion Jehovah-Jireh never flinched. Freshman John-Paul Ricks’ 3-pointer with 1:34 remaining provided the finishing touch for Jehovah-Jireh’s 56-45 victory over Crescent City at Burton Coliseum.


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“I saw they had cut the gap to five, and it was under two minutes,” John-Paul Ricks said. “I knew we had to get back up and make a run.”

Title-game MVP Brandon Harton Jr. scored a game-high 18 points and Ricks, the son of JCA coach Dirk Ricks, added 13 and Timothy Jackson had 10 for the Warriors (37-6) as they won their second straight LHSAA title.

In what was a game of basketball trust, fueled by multiple scoring runs, there was some symmetry. The Warriors beat the Pioneers in the first and last games of the season. It was the third straight title game meeting for the two teams. Crescent City won in 2017.

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“We spent this game trying to claw our way out of a hole,” Crescent City coach Shaun Dumas said. “We kept fighting and busting our chops to the persons on the left and right down the stretch. We dug ourselves too deep of a hole to start the game.”

Byron Joshua led Crescent City (25-14) with 17 points, Jordin Farrell added 15. Shooting percentages were key. Jehovah-Jireh made 51.2 percent, compared to 39.0 for the Pioneers, who committed 28 turnovers. JCA scored 29 points off turnovers.

“They have unbelievable confidence in each other,” Dirk Ricks said. “All year, we’ve played like this. Today it was Brandon (who was the top scorer), and Tuesday it was John-Paul. We’ve played games where other guys have taken that role.

“To win back-to-back championships is amazing. I think the game itself played out the way we thought it would. (Crescent City) was not ever going to stop coming at us. Overall, our game plan worked, and we were tough defensively.”

Jehovah-Jireh made a sizzling 63.6 percent of its first-half shots from the field (14 of 22), making it easy to see why the Warriors held a 35-21 lead. Harton and John-Paul Ricks each had 13 points in the first half, while Joshua had 12 for Crescent City.

JCA scored the game's first seven points. The first of JP Ricks’ first-half 3-pointers made it 10-2 with 4:16 to go in the opening quarter. The Warriors led 18-8 after one quarter and by as much as 15 points in the second quarter. It was a 35-21 lead by halftime.

Crescent City had trouble cutting into the JCA lead in the third quarter, despite scoring the first five points of the period. A transition basket by Jackson off a pass from Jaron Davis made it 41-26 with 2:15 left and JCA led 43-30 after three quarters.

Farrell scored seven fourth-quarter points, including a layup that cut the Warriors lead to 48-43, setting the stage for John-Paul Ricks’ final 3-pointer.

"We trust each other, we trust the process,"Harton said.


Follow Robin Fambrough on Twitter, @FambroughAdv.