Defense, Martin’s second half offense boosts Bulldogs to fifth state hoop title

Tryve Brackin
Ronald Martin pulls through a hostile Southern Lab defense for a shot in White Castle's 66-65 Class 1A championship win Saturday at the Lafayette Cajundome.

White Castle High Bulldogs captured the State 1-A boys’ basketball championship Saturday evening at the Lafayette Cajundome with a comeback 66-65 victory over longtime nemesis Southern Lab.

There were close, tense moments near the end of the game as 1-A Most Valuable Player Ronald Martin missed a pair of free throws with 5.3 seconds left on the clock with the Bulldogs holding on to the final 66-65 lead. Up flew WCHS junior Randy Foster to grab the rebound of Martin’s second miss. He lost possession of the ball, but Lab had no time to get off a real shot at the goal all the way down at the other end of the court. The horn sounded and the multitude of WCHS fans erupted with joy.

Martin finished with a game-high 25 points as he managed to bag a couple of late free throws. The senior hit the free throw line several times in the second half, hitting 6 of 12 charity shots in the contest. He also nailed 9 of 17 from the field (including a 3-pointer), tallying 20 of his game-high 25 in the second half to lead the way to victory.

Both the coaches and players relied on Martin to carry the load late in the game and he outdid his previous semifinal performance against North Central by penetrating to the goal several times in the third and fourth quarter to score key goals for the Bulldogs. In the meantime he helped boost the offensive play of teammates Quadry Allen and Terrance Fair in the second half. Allen hit nine of his 12 points in the second half, while Fair hit 8 of his 11 markers. Meanwhile, teammates Isaac O’Bear and Randy Foster came up with key plays to help the Bulldogs turn a 30-26 halftime deficit into a title victory.

But the Bulldogs’ offensive heroics in the second half were far from the entire story of their historic victory. It was the WC defense that shared the victory honors. The Bulldogs created 22 Southern Lab turnovers and 11 steals. Leading the way was senior guard Daniel Allen who took charge of guarding Lab guard standout Lance Bernard in the second half. After leading all scorers at intermission with 12 points, Allen held Lab’s leading scorer to 9 in the second half.

 “The boys did what they had to do to win. No one can take that away from them. Our boys showed they refused to quit both in the game last night and at the Superdome in the state football title game. That is the way they are. They are winners,” commented veteran WCHS Coach Ronald Johnson in a Sunday interview.

It was Johnson’s third Bulldog hoop club to win a state championship.

Look for photos and complete articles on the team’s two Top 28 victories in this week’s POST SOUTH.