PHS beats Hammond to win own annual Classic hoop tourney

Tryve Brackin
Plaquemine High’s Green Devil basketball team and coaches celebrate winning their annual round ball Classic tournament early last week. PHS beat Hammond High 49-41 to claim the tourney title. The Green Devils’ 4-0 showing in the tourney boosted the 3-A locals to a 16-2 season record.

Plaquemine High forged a 49-41 victory over upper classification Hammond High in the championship game of the annual Green Devil Holiday Basketball Classic to claim the title for the first time in several seasons of hosting the event. The title game was played Tuesday night of last week concluding four evenings of top-notch basketball.

While Plaquemine (16-2 overall) won the championship, fellow 3-A power Albany High defeated 2-A St. John High of Plaquemine (7-6 overall) by a 73-40 score to claim Third Place honors. Albany lost to PHS in the semifinals. St. John lost to Plaquemine, but beat Helen Cox High and St. James to reach the Third Place game.

Thibodaux High beat St. James by a 76-34 score to take Consolation Game honors on the final night. Amite High, which was rated in the top four in 3-A basketball at the start of the tourney, had to settle for Fifth Place honors by beating 1-A West St. John by a 59-45 score on the final evening of play.

The senior duo of Deryl Lewis and Maquel Robinson scored 14 points apiece to lead the PHS offense in the title win over Hammond. Lewis was named the tourney’s Most Valuable Player for his overall performances in the four-straight Plaquemine High victories. Senior guard D’Andre Stevens was named the Best Defensive Player in the tourney, while senior center Cody Edmond netted the tourney’s Mr. Sportsman Award. Robinson and fellow senior Ryan Travis notched berths on the All-Tourney team.

Hammond High’s duo of Dominick McCoy and Mark Bridgewater notched All-Tourney team honors as well.

St. John was led in the Third Place game by senior guard Terrell Elwood. He scored 13 points in the loss, but was a steady scoring leader throughout the tourney for the Eagles and notched All-Tourney honors as a result. Gary Jackson led Albany in the Third Place game and netted a spot on the All-Tourney team.

Other players named to the Classic’s All-Tourney honors were Amite High’s Brandon Mitchell (an LSU signee), Elton Joseph of West St. John, Terrance Green of St. James, and Shavon Coleman of Thibodaux High.

Albany’s Jackson was the top point-getter on the final night of the tourney with 24 in the win over SJHS. Amite’s Mitchell had 21 in the win over West St. John, whose Joseph was third in line with 20 points.

“It was a very exciting championship game with Hammond and a very competitive tournament with some outstanding teams and individual players. We did a special thing by honoring the 1969 Iberville High boys’ basketball team that won a state championship before the school closed its doors,” commented PHS mentor Denny Wright.

The Iberville High team, which played in the old black high school association, was led by legendary Joe “The Pro” Simpson. Current White Castle High basketball coach Ronald Johnson was another standout on the team as well as former Plaquemine High standout Donald Banks, who is Johnson’s brother-in-law. The championship team was coached by James Peterson and Joe Calloway. Additional member of the team were Oveal “Tootie” Gales, Donald Piper, Matt Butler, Quendell Washington, Frank Jones, Paul Nelson, Richard Primm, the late Clarence Patterson, and the late Sherman Diggs, Jr. A photo of several members of the Iberville High team from the tourney was sent to us, but it was not of printable quality.

SEMIFINALS: Hosting PHS pushed its way into the championship game by beating Albany High 65-50 in the semifinals winners’ bracket.

Robinson put up a game-high 23 points to lead PHS to the title game match. Lewis also hit for double figures as he netted 19. James Lewis was the top scorer for Albany with 11 points.

St. John also performed well for the Plaquemine fans as they qualified for the Third Place honors game with a 54-38 victory over defending 4-A state champ Helen Cox High. Elwood was the game’s high scorer for the Eagles with 23 points. Davante Williams backed Elwood with 10 markers, while no one in the Cox lineup tallied in double figures against the 2-A locals’ defense.

In other tourney semifinal games, Amite High topped Pointe Coupee Central 61-43, while St. James downed West St. John High by a 58-49 count.

SECOND ROUND: A 45-23 victory over cross-town rival St. John High Saturday boosted hosting Plaquemine High into the third round winners’ bracket of the tourney. St. John went on to beat Helen Cox, a Saturday loser to 5-A Hammond High by a 50-47 score.

Albany beat Class 1-A West St. John High by a 68-53 score in the second round Saturday. In other second round games, 5-A Thibodaux beat Amite High, rated second in 3-A power ratings, by a 57-41 score, while 2-A St. James beat 2-A Pointe Coupee Central in a losers’ bracket game Saturday by a 53-50 score in overtime.

Plaquemine used its vaulted defense to surge by neighboring St. John Saturday evening, holding the Eagles to only 6 points in the first half and to only 23 the entire game. Jeff Ricard provided a spark to the Green Devil offense as he came off the bench to net a team-high 12 points. Robinson chipped in 10 points to give PHS a pair in double figures. Elwood was the game’s top scorer with 15 of his team’s 23 points. 

FIRST ROUND: Plaquemine and St. John High set up a second round contest by garnering victories on opening night of the Classic tourney.

PHS slipped by Pointe Coupee Central High by a narrow 50-47 score to begin their annual tourney in a less than spectacular way, but they would get stronger as the tourney games mounted.

Edmond led the way for the Green Devils with a team-high 14 points, while Lewis nailed 10 markers. Donnie Cobb led PCCHS with a game-high 18 points. PHS led by a 24-18 halftime score, but allowed the Cougars to rally back in the second half.

St. John played a solid first-round game, beating fellow 2-A invitee St. James High by a 52-43 score. The Eagles led by four points at intermission, but rallied strong with a 21-16 scoring margin.

The senior duo of Elwood and Gage Passantino led the way for St. John with a combined 38-point offensive showing. Elwood led all scorers with 20 points, while Passantino was right behind him with 18.

In a feature battle in the first round, 4-A defending state champ Helen Cox topped top-ranked 3-A Amite High by a 47-39 score. And, in a contest between a pair of 5-A tourney invitees, Hammond High downed Thibodaux High by a 57-53 score.

Elwood’s 20-point showing in the Eagle win over St. James was the opening night’s top scoring effort. West St. John’s Joseph was the top scorer in Saturday night’s second round with 22 points in the Rams’ losing effort against Albany High.

TERRELL ELWOOD	…led St. John High to a 2-1 record and a berth in the Third Place honors game at the recent Green Devil Holiday Basketball Classic. He notched All-Tourney honors for his performances.