After highly competitive semifinal bouts, the Don Redden Memorial Classic has its championship matchup set for 6 p.m. tonight, and it features two of the top programs in the area in Ouachita and Wossman.
Friday’s portion of the Don Redden Memorial Classic boasted tight semifinal battles and a West Monroe buzzer beater. Here’s what went down Friday:
Wossman 52, Carroll 47
Call it a defensive struggle if you like, but NELA basketball fans can call it an appetizer of great District 1-3A games to come.
Wossman clung to a lead for the majority of the contest and never led by more than six points. Carroll surged ahead at the end of the third quarter, 37-35, but the Wildcats outscored the Bulldogs, 17-10, in the fourth period.
Wossman’s Jordan Comanche led all scorers with 22 points. Antron Mason II stayed hot from 3-point land and finished with 15 points for the Wildcats.
Carroll’s Deandre Washington led the Bulldogs with 14 points in the loss.
Wossman advanced to meet Ouachita in the finals at 6 p.m. today, while Carroll will meet Sterlington at 4:30 p.m.
Ouachita 60, Sterlington 52
Ouachita head coach Jeremy Madison had nothing but praise for Sterlington heading into Friday night’s semifinal battle.
He knew his Lions would be tested, and Sterlington brought the fight to the Lions for 32 minutes.
After leading 17-15 in the first quarter, Ouachita had runs where it would surge ahead by six points, but Sterlington showed its ability to get right back in it and make the contest a one-possession ballgame.
Ultimately, the Lions pulled away in the fourth quarter, as Damontae Thomas hit a clutch 3-pointer and Zion Weeks made two critical buckets. Weeks led the team with 14 points, and Thomas added 13.
Cooper Smith led the Panthers with 17 points, while Ouachita did a nice job defensively of limiting Cardez Norman to 10 points.
West Monroe 55, Rayville 53
After starting the Don Redden Memorial Classic with a frustrating hard-fought loss to Carroll and rallying from behind double-digits to beat General Trass on the second day, the Rebels stole headlines on the third day with a remarkable buzzer beater.
Down 53-52 with 7.2 seconds remaining, Jayden Jackson drove the length of the court, drawing multiple Rayville defenders before jumping in the air and making an acrobatic pass to a wide-open Jahvion Pickens, who sunk the game-winning 3-pointer as the buzzer sounded.
"He got a good look, in rhythm shot. He got his feet on the ground and it was nothing but net," West Monroe head coach Kyle Hill said.
Shunderrius Glass led the Rebels again with 12 points. Kendrick Green and Jackson each added 11. Hill praised the efforts of Chauncey Lee and Willie Lyons for their contributions all tournament long too.
Borrowing from what Ouachita did one day prior against Rayville, the Rebels stayed in a zone-based defense for the majority of the contest to fluster the Hornets offensively.
"We've had some horrendous starts to games this year," Hill said. "For us, it's been about playing 32 full minutes. Guys who were starting went to the bench and accepted roles really well. Willie Lyons has played extremely well off the bench. He hit two big 3-pointers against Rayville. The guys have put the team first, and it's made us better. We got off to a great start, so we could get back and settle into a zone."
A.J. Ellender 52, St. Frederick 33
A back-and-forth battle in the first half swung heavily in the favor of Ellender in the third quarter, as the Patriots outscored St. Frederick, 19-11, in the period.
The Warriors were limited to just one field goal in the fourth quarter, as Ellender’s defense paved the way for the double-digit win Friday.
Parker Robinson led the Warriors with nine points in the loss. Ellender’s Richard Hampton led all scorers with 14 points.