BY HART PISANI
Special to The Advocate
The Dunham Tigers showed a ton of resiliency Saturday night in the Allstate Sugar Bowl National Prep Classic. However, resiliency doesn’t always accomplish the results you want.
Although Jordan Wright scored 20 points, it wasn’t enough to overcome Bishop Loughlin (New York) as the Tigers fell to the Lions 67-58 in the National bracket championship game Saturday night at the Alario Center in Westwego.
The Tigers (15-3) battled throughout, refusing to quit, even when going down by as many as 16.
The Tigers came close to taking the lead on several occasions but couldn’t escape the powerful inside presence of Loughlin’s Julian and Justin Champagnie, as Julian scored 21 points and Justin scored 18 on his way to being named tournament MVP.
“My team is a resilient group,” Dunham coach Johnathan Pixley said. “The biggest issue with tonight that I have is that we played a team that just played nastier than we did. They just played tougher than we did. We have to make sure that we learn from this and make sure that we never allow that part to happen again.”
The Champagnie brothers relentless rebounding was a major factor in denying Dunham second-chance opportunities. Their defense stood out too as Carlos Stewart, who had 28 points in the semifinals against Sophie B. Wright, was held to just 13 on the evening.
“Our half-court offensive movement has got to improve from what it was tonight,” Pixley said. “We also can’t attach defensive energy to offensive output. We need to get better at all of those things and we will. We’ll get there.”
Bishop Loughlin started off hot as Justin Champagnie put up nine of his points in the first quarter as the Lions jumped out to an 11-0 lead to start. Dunham went on an 8-0 run to make it 11-8. The Lions responded with an 8-2 run as they led 19-10 after one quarter.
Things stood the same in the second quarter as no matter how hard Dunham fought they just never seemed to get any closer or take the lead as the Lions led 31-21 at halftime.
Dunham continued to fight in the third quarter, opening with a 9-3 run to pull within four points. However, the Lions went on a 9-0 run to regain control and move out of the third quarter with a 43-34 lead.
Dunham refused to go down, however, as they went on a 9-0 run, this one tying the game, bringing the Tigers as close to the lead as they would get. Things remained close for a few minutes, but the Lions pulled away again.