Newman’s Canin Jefferson handed out six assists Wednesday night, but none was bigger than his last.
Jefferson fed Todd Jones for an inside basket with six seconds left, and the Greenies held on for a 53-52 win over Port Allen in the championship game of the Red Stick Classic at Catholic High.
Port Allen (6-3) had taken a 52-51 lead on Elliott McQuillan’s drive to basket with 27 seconds left. Newman inbounded the ball to Chris Lockett, who brought the ball upcourt before finding Jefferson in the left corner.
Jefferson drove the left baseline pulling the defense to him before sending a bounce pass to Jones underneath the goal.
Lockett intercepted Port Allen’s inbounds pass as Newman (11-2) ran out the clock.
NATCHITOCHES — Madison Prep coach Landry Williams said he knew his team was ready to win as soon as he got on the bus Wednesday morning.
Jones finished with 17 points, Lockett scored 15 and Jefferson added eight points for Newman, which reached the Division III quarterfinals last season.
“We’ve got a young team, but we’ve worked hard during this pandemic,” Newman coach Randy Livingston said. “I challenged my two backcourt players (Lockett and Jefferson), and they were huge. I think you saw a young team grow up tonight.”
The Pelicans got big production from McQuillan and Tawasky Johnson, who combined to make nine of Port Allen’s 10 3-pointers in the game. Both players finished with 20 points.
The game was close throughout. Port Allen’s 25-19 lead late in the first half was the largest lead for either team, and there were 11 lead changes.
Port Allen led 26-24 at the half, but Newman made 4 of 5 shots to open the third quarter and grab a 34-32 lead. McQuillan’s 3-pointer sparked a 7-2 run for Port Allen as it took a 39-36 lead into the fourth quarter.
Newman responded with an 11-3 to take a 47-42 lead. Jefferson had an assist, a steal and a bucket during the run. Port Allen took the momentum back as two 3-pointers from McQuillan helped the Pelicans take a 50-47 lead with two minutes left.
There a lot of sports images seared into my memory from 2020.
Newman took the lead back on Jones’ layup, but McQuillan scored after an offensive rebound to give Port Allen its last lead at 52-51.
“Randy did a good job making adjustments and switching up his defenses on us,” Port Allen coach Derrick Jones said. “They did some things we haven’t seen yet this year, and they just made the plays at the end.”
For the game, Newman made 23 of 40 shots (58%) and outrebounded Port Allen 25-24. The Pelicans connected on 18 of 44 from the field (41%), and were 10 of 21 from 3-point range.
Newman 53, Port Allen 52
Halftime: Port Allen 26, Newman 24
Leaders: Newman — Todd Jones 17, Chris Lockett 15. Port Allen — Elliott McQuillan 20, Tawasky Johnson 20.
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