It wasn’t pretty, but St. Paul’s coach Stephen Dale will take it.
In a self-described “ugly game”, the Wolves came from behind to defeat South Plaquemines 61-56 Wednesday night at the Gene Bennett Sports Complex in Covington.
Trailing 47-43 heading into the final period, St. Paul’s (5-3) first field goal of the quarter didn’t come until the 3:48 mark. The Wolves trailed 55-51 with 2:36 left, but a bucket by Bill Leahy and two subsequent free throws followed by another basket gave the Wolves the lead for good at 57-55.
Leahy finished with a team-high 19 points, and Isiah Phillips had 18. Truce Williams led the way for South Plaquemines with a game-high 25 and Kevin Riley had 17.
“This is about as ugly of a win as it gets,” Dale said. “South Plaquemines presented a very stiff challenge, but our kids figured out a way to execute in the fourth quarter. This team is young, and it is learning and growing. We are going to have nights like this.
“I think the important thing is that we figured out a way to win in the end. That is going to be big for us this year.”
Both teams struggled offensively in the first half. Buckets by Leahy and Ben Broussard gave the Wolves a 4-0 lead, but those were the last points the Wolves scored for nearly six minutes of the opening quarter. South Plaquemines, meanwhile, went on a 13-0 run and held a 13-4 advantage with 1:07 remaining in the opening quarter.
The Wolves went on a quick 5-0 run to open the second quarter and a 3-pointer by Leahy cut the deficit to 15-13 with 6:38 left in the first half. St. Paul’s cut the lead to a bucket twice more in the first half but was unable to regain the lead and the Hurricanes took a 27-22 advantage into halftime.
St. Paul’s went on its run in the third quarter and tied the game at 36 on a 3-pointer by Phillips with 1:57 to go in the contest, but Williams responded with a 3-pointer to quickly give South Plaquemines the lead back.
Both squads return to action Thursday night, on the road. St. Paul’s heads to Zachary, while the Hurricanes travel to Belle Chasse in the first round of the Belle Chasse tournament.