Second half spoils title hopes for White Castle
LAKE CHARLES – Defense highlighted a close and fast-paced opening quarter in the Class 1A championship showdown between White Castle and North Central, but the tide turned by halftime.
Turnovers and trouble at the goal during the second quarter put No. 2 seed White Castle at a disadvantage against No. 1 seed North Central, which never looked back as they rallied to a 63-43 win over the Bulldogs on March 11 at the Ochsner/Louisiana High School Athletic Association Marsh Madness at Burton Complex in Lake Charles.
The loss ended the season at 18-13 for WCHS, which came up short it in its second consecutive showing in the Class 1A title game, one year after they lost to Arcadia.
A 27 percent showing from the field and 18 turnovers played a big role in the Bulldog loss.
“It was a tough, tough loss,” head coach Dawan Carter said. “I thought we came in prepared, but we got into a stretch of the game in which we allowed a lot of turnovers and that took us out of transition and made it hard for us to get back into the game.”
Jalan Washington led Bulldog scoring with 14 points and three 3-point shots.
White Castle took a 3-0 lead in the first quarter off a three-point bucket by Damian Pierce and a goal by Damorion Burks.
Turnovers and rebounds helped North Central finish the stanza with a 6-5 lead.
The Bulldogs kept pace with the Hurricanes in the second quarter, but turnovers and missed shots gave NCHS a 17-12 lead at the half.
Davian Lavergne took a rebound downcourt for a basket 2:45 before halftime for a 10-8 lead, which the Hurricanes stretched to 17-12 at the half.
NCHS shot only 30 percent in the second stanza, but forced six Bulldog turnovers.
North Central turned up the intensity in the second both on defense and shooting. The Hurricanes stretched their lead to 23-12 three minutes into the third quarter before a Pierre three-pointer broke the ice for White Castle.
Pierre punched in one more three-pointer in the third, but Bulldog turnovers pave the way for the Hurricanes to finish the quarter ahead 41-23.
“They put pressure on us in the third quarter and we didn’t handle it very well during that stretch, and against a good team it’s hard to get yourself back into the game,” Carter said. “That’s what changed the whole game.”
Reginald Stoner scored 23 points and seven steals for North Central. He brought home the Most Outstanding Player trophy.
White Castle’s postseason trek continues one of the longest runs in Louisiana high school basketball, dating back to 1974.