Six first-half 3-pointers gave Plaquemine a comfortable 34-19 halftime lead against Brusly on Tuesday night.
The seventh won it for the Green Devils.
With Brusly closing in at 52-50 and in the midst of a 17-6 fourth-quarter run, Green Devils guard Henry Spriggs hit a baseline 3-pointer to stretch the Green Devil lead to five with 56 seconds left, eventually putting away the homestanding Panthers 61-60.
Quiet throughout the first three quarters Brusly forward D.J. Jones — the tallest player on the floor for either team — finally found offensive continuity in the fourth, pulling his team back within single digits with 13 of his 17 total points.
“We talked about at halftime that we needed to get more post touches,” Brusly coach Kirby Loupe said. “He is a good player and we have to feed him the ball and it will open up a lot for everybody else. Hopefully we can get on film and show the kids that he is a weapon we can use.”
Spriggs led the Green Devils with 16 points on four 3-pointers while guard Keandre Randall added 15, including 13 in the first half. Randall was whistled for one of four technical fouls in the first eight minutes as the schools, separated by just 11 miles, got re-acquainted with one another.
The chippiness calmed down, though, showcasing a strength the Green Devils have relied upon all season.
“We strive off of discipline and mental toughness,” Plaquemine coach Donald Johnson said. “That’s a big thing for us since Day 1. We just wanted to make sure we stayed mentally tough. We know it’s going to be a battle every night. We’re not an overly talented team and we rely on mental toughness.”
Down 34-19 at halftime, Brusly scored the first four points of the third quarter to trim the lead to 11. But Plaquemine’s easy runout buckets off full-court pressure, coupled with Brusly’s struggles at the free-throw line, put the Panthers behind 46-31 after three quarters and quickly erased its run.
Brusly scored the first three points of the fourth quarter as Jones began to find rhythm. At one juncture, he scored nine straight points to pull the Panthers within 52-42.
Out of a Plaquemine timeout on the next possession, Panthers guard Michael Bryant laid in a lob pass and then was fouled shooting a 3-pointer after a Green Devils turnover.
Bryant, who finished with 14 points, sank two of three free throws to put Brusly within four at 52-48, the closest it had been since a 10-8 deficit in the first quarter. Jones followed with an offensive rebound and putback on the next possession, pulling the Panthers within two.
That set up Spriggs, who buried a 3-pointer off an extra perimeter pass to rekindle the sharpshooting touch from the first half and send the Green Devils to their eighth win.
“We did just enough to win,” Johnson said. “We knew it was going to be an intense game. They were pumping it up all week. We haven’t put a full game together, so we just wanted to come in and compete. Good thing we came out with the victory.”