Given the spirit of the political season, suffice it to say that the state of the union of Lusher boys basketball could not be much better.
The gritty Lions have rolled to four consecutive District 10-3A victories during the past two weeks with the latest, a 64-61 conquest of De La Salle on Tuesday night, putting Lusher in outright possession of first place with two league games remaining.
Forwards Ian Kirsch and Cameron Williams each scored a game-high 19 points to pace a four-player contingent in double figures that helped the host Lions rally from a 17-10 first quarter deficit and shake loose from a 30-30 tie at halftime to break a 12-game losing streak against the Cavaliers dating to the 2012-13 season.
“We’re fighting hard right now,’’ Williams said. “We’re never giving up. When times get hard, we’re fighting through it. We’re trusting in each other and that’s really what it’s been that’s carried us.’’
It took five free throws by Kirsch and guard Nolan Hall in the final 61 seconds to stave off the three-time reigning 10-3A champions.
Lusher (18-9 overall, 5-1 in 10-3A) moved a full game in front of Donaldsonville 21-9, 4-2) and 1½ games ahead of De La Salle (16-9 overall, 3-2 in 10-3A) and in a quest to win just the second district title in the 12-year history of boys basketball at the Uptown school and first since 2010-11.
“This is a long time coming,’’ Lusher coach Hunter Higgins said referring to his team breaking a 12-game losing streak against the Cavaliers. “We really hadn’t beaten two elite teams this season until now. We beat Donaldsonville and now we’ve beaten De La Salle (both at Lusher).
“We’ve played really well at home, but can we do it on the road? We’ve got two monsters coming up. We’ll leave it at that.’’
Guard Corey Madison and Hall scored 12 and 10 points respectively for the Lions, who play their final two district games on the road at Donaldsonville Friday and at St. James next Tuesday.
De La Salle has its own conundrum after sustaining a second consecutive league loss to break a streak of 27 consecutive District 10-3A victories and 29 overall league wins overall.
“We’re holding our heads up,’’ De La Salle coach Paul Kelly said “It’s a step forward for us after Friday night (in a 67-49 loss at Donaldsonville). We just didn’t show up to compete then. But at least we were competitive tonight.
“I think the difference in the game was we made too many mental errors. We had blown defensive assignments on things that should be routine for us and we did not take care of the ball in making errors that were not forced.’’
Guards Jalen Ned and John Kelly scored 14 and 13 to pace De La Salle, which also got 7 points apiece from guard Ja’Kobe Walker and forward Gerald Matthews while stellar guard Abiram Frye was limited to 6 points.
Lusher did not lead by more than seven points after taking its first lead at 39-37 on a Williams 3-pointer three minutes into the third quarter. The Lions led 50-45 heading into the final period.
“We know it’s a game of runs and they came out hot,’’ Williams said. “Coach told us to stay calm and that’s what we did. We didn’t let (the early deficit) rattle us. Then we made a run of our own.’’
LUSHER 64, DE LA SALLE 61
De La Salle 17 13 15 16 -- 61
Lusher 10 20 20 14 -- 64
De La Salle: Abiram Frye 6; Ja’kobe Walker 7; Jharon Gilmore 2; Jalen Ned 14; Gerald Matthews 7; John Kelly 13; Malcolm Coleman 5; Leonard Jackson 3; Gary Thomas 6.
Lusher: Corey Madison 12; Nolan Hall 10; Myles Johnson 4; Ian Kirsch 19; Cameron Williams 19.
3-pointers: De La Salle – Jalen Ned 2; Gerald Matthew 1; John Kelly 1; Ja’Kobe Walker 1; Malcolm Coleman 1; Leonard Jackson 1. Lusher – Corey Madison 2; Cameron Williams 2; Ian Kirsch 1; Nolan Hall 1.
Team records: De La Salle 16-9 overall, 3-2 in District 10-3A; Lusher 17-9 overall, 5-1 in 10-3A.