Parish trio collect regional basketball victories

Tryve Brackin

A trio of Iberville Parish high school boy basketball teams managed to accomplish a rarity last week as they collectively advanced to the state playoff quarterfinals with regional level victories on the hardwood.

Second-seeded Class 3-A Plaquemine High beat visiting Iowa High 56-35 with a huge second-half rally, while Class 1-A ninth-seeded East Iberville High turned back tough host Southern Lab 73-48 in a game that gained additional revenge. And 10th-seeded White Castle High claimed a multiple regional level victory by turning back hosting St. Mary’s High up in Natchitoches by a narrow 35-32 score.

PHS 56,IOWA 35: A quick and aggressive Iowa Yellow Jacket team made it tough for the hosting Green Devils all the way to the middle point of the third period. However, the local 3-A power kicked it into second gear and wore down the visitors with a fast transition game and steady defense to turn the contest into a regional rout.

Plaquemine could have easily pulled ahead by even more than their 21-13 halftime advantage had they shot better from the free throw line in the early going. The Green Devils picked up the bonus light on the scoreboard relatively early in the first half, but the locals missed a number of free shot opportunities and kept the Iowa boys hanging around.

Then, near the midway point of the third stanza, the Green Devils began passing the ball down court and beating the tired Yellow Jackets to the hoop. After staking a 14-9 scoring margin in the third period the locals blew the game wide open with a final 22-13 advantage in the final stanza. The foursome of Jeffrey Ricard, Demarcus Veal, Treveon Hawkins, and Korbin Scott hit on a series of quick moves to the basket that finally took the sting out of the Jackets. Veal had a pair of dramatic slam-dunks at the end of quick transition plays down court that helped spark the final run to the 21-point rout.

Team captain Ricard led the way with a 17-point effort, while Veal finished with 12 and Hawkins 11 points. Scott added 7, while Adonis Major tallied 5 points. Jeremy Jenkins and Larry Young bagged 2 apiece.

Ray Jenkins was the only Iowa player in double figures as he netted 10 points.

Iowa finished its season with a 22-12 record, while PHS advance to the state quarterfinals for the third-straight year and an outstanding 32-2 mark.

EIHS 73, SOUTHERN LAB 48: East Iberville played Lab on the Southern University campus in the early stages of the basketball season and had regrets about their performance haunt them all the way to last week’s regional victory.

The Tigers blew a double-figure lead and eventually lost to the hosting Kittens in overtime.

Back to the college campus went the local parish team and this time with determination not to fail.

The EI boys mounted big first-half quarter leads of 25-16 and 15-8, but this time followed through in the final stanza with a huge 19-6 finish to pin a rare home loss on the proud Labsters by a 25-point margin. It was one of the most impressive postseason victories for East Iberville basketball in several seasons and was a rare regional loss for Lab, which dominated Class 1-A boys’ basketball for over a recent decade.

EI senior Sheldon Ballom, a Beta Club district president, showed he could make passing marks on the postseason hardwood as well as in the classroom as he led the way for the Tiger victory with a 25-point effort. Ballom, a transfer from the New Orleans area after Hurricane Katrina, bagged four baskets from 3-point range to keep the hosting Labsters off-balance and behind most of the game.

Senior point guard Donovan Richardson added 16 key points to the victory, while senior forward Mitch Johnson netted 13. Jonathan Belvin scored 9, while Greg Pickett popped in 7 and Aldrick Nelson 3 points.

Senior Lab guard Michael Harrell led his team with 18 point, while Ken Scott tallied 12 for the 16-10 Kittens.

EIHS moved to 21-10 as they advanced Friday to the quarterfinals.

WCHS 35, ST. MARY’S 32: Despite losing standout guard Ronald Martin much of the game due to foul trouble, the Bulldogs pulled away in the third quarter and held on to their lead to win their regional road game by three points.

The Bulldogs turned in an outstanding defensive effort in the third stanza to spark the hard-fought road win. WCHS outscored the hosting SMHS club 12-1 in the third period and withstood a late-game rally. St. Mary’s led 21-15 at intermission.

Sophomore forward Terrance Fair came through under the boards for the Bulldogs as he led the locals’ offense with 12 points. Guard Quadry Allen netted 8 points, including a pair of key 3-pointers, while Randy Foster joined Fair underneath with 6 points. Senior 6-5 post player Dontrell Thomas added 3 points and helped under the boards, while DeAndre Bellock, DaMarius Wesley, and Isaac O’Bear contributed 2 points apiece coming off the bench. Martin and senior guard Daniel Allen did not score.

The Bulldog defense was key to the victory as no St. Mary’s player scored in double figures. Cliff Walker led the team with 9 points, while Victor Bayonne added 7 points.