Jonathan Bradshaw spoiled the party.
The underdog West Monroe Rebels were jumping around The Madhouse after rallying from 18 down and tying the Ouachita Lions in the fourth quarter. But Bradshaw showed why he is one of the elite players in Northeast Louisiana Friday night.
Leading 48-44 with 3:38 remaining, Bradshaw recorded back-to-back blocks on one possession before scoring on four straight offensive possessions to give Ouachita a comfortable lead with 1:35 remaining in the contest. He led all with 23 points in the Lions’ 63-51 victory.
“He just put us on his back and did everything,” Ouachita head coach Jeremy Madison said. “He scored for us on the offensive end, he blocked shots, he made rebounds. The last six minutes of the game was Jonathan Bradshaw. We depend on him a lot. It’s his senior year. Hopefully he’ll continue to lead.”
The No. 7 Ouachita Lions (15-7) identified matchup advantages early on and exploited them quickly against No. 17 West Monroe (14-10) Friday night.
The size advantage for Ouachita was glaring when Trevon Bradford’s 6’7” frame created one easy bucket after the next inside the paint for the Lions. Bradford scored three baskets in Ouachita’s 14-0 run that ended the first quarter. West Monroe made two field goals early on to lead, 5-2, before careless turnovers and missed shots forced by Ouachita’s pressure defense sent the Rebels into the second quarter looking for answers.
“Those guys lacked size, so we did a good job of getting the ball inside in the first half. The second half we stopped getting the ball inside for whatever reason,” Madison said.
West Monroe made adjustments. The Rebels forced back-to-back charges and Chauncey Lee and Jahvion Pickens drained 3-pointers to bring the deficit to seven points.
Bradshaw regained momentum for the Lions after a West Monroe turnover led to him all alone on the other end for a thunderous dunk. Bradshaw then took over, scoring on three of the next four Ouachita possessions. Ouachita fans leapt to their feet when Tylor Modica completed a 12-2 run by knocking down a corner three.
The Lions took a 33-17 lead into halftime.
For those expecting Ouachita to run away with the game in the second half, the West Monroe contingent had something else in mind. The Rebels opened the half on a 12-2 run. The visiting Rebel fans erupted when Jayden Jackson knocked down a triple to get West Monroe within eight points. Shunderrius Glass banked a shot near the base line on the following possession to force a Ouachita timeout.
The Rebels ultimately outscored Ouachita, 21-7, in the quarter to trail, 40-38, heading into the fourth.
“We put ourselves in that situation, so we had to dig ourselves out,” Madison said. “Hats off to (West Monroe head coach) Kyle Hill and those guys for coming back, but we have to do a better job of protecting the lead.”
Glass led the Rebels with 11 points, and Jackson added 10. Jeremiah Puckett scored 11 for the Lions.
Ouachita 38, West Monroe 31 (OT)
With both Ouachita (9-13) and West Monroe (9-13) on the outside looking in of a Non-Select Division I playoff berth, urgency built over the course of an overtime clash between the No. 33 Lady Lions and No. 36 Lady Rebels in The Madhouse Friday night.
Because of the circumstances, West Monroe head coach Lee Morrow suggested every remaining game was a playoff matchup, and it certainly felt that way as both teams hustled toward the finish line Friday night. Ultimately, it was Ouachita that collected the 38-31 overtime win after both teams struggled to convert from the field.
Ouachita did not make a field goal in the entire fourth quarter, but the Lady Lions forced overtime by going six-of-13 at the line.
West Monroe was one-of-five from the free throw line in the fourth quarter and in overtime.
Offensive rebounds and eight free throws helped paved the path to victory for Ouachita in the overtime period. After previously going six-for-17 at the charity stripe, Ouachita knocked down eight-of-10 from the line in the extra period.
Jade Spikes led the Lady Lions with 17 points.
West Monroe senior Carlesia Moore suffered a head injury in the opening minute of the contest. After being tended to on the bench, Moore returned four minutes later with the Lady Rebels leading on the road.
West Monroe went on a 9-0 run in the opening quarter, but Ouachita answered late. Mikera Abrams drained a trey and converted another field goal to give the Lady Lions a 10-9 advantage going into the second quarter.
Abrams scored 13 in the win for the Lady Lions.
The Lady Lions went cold in the second quarter, though. Points were at a premium for both clubs actually, as West Monroe outscored Ouachita, 6-4, in a physical quarter.
The Lady Rebels were able to regain the upper hand at the free throw line. The charity stripe was kind to West Monroe, as the Lady Rebels sunk seven-of-eight attempts at the line. Ouachita did not attempt a free throw in the first half.
Moore scored four of the Lady Rebels’ six points in the quartered. She ultimately led the Lady Rebels with 10 points.
West Monroe led 15-14 at the half.
The Lady Rebels took a 24-18 lead late into the third quarter before Ouachita finally responded with some baskets at the rim. Abrams drove to the basket and got a finger roll to go in before creating a steal and scoring on the ensuing possession to cut the deficit to two.
West Monroe took a 24-22 lead into the final quarter.
The Lady Lions and Lady Rebels combined for just 23 field goals in Friday’s contest.