BASKETBALL

Second quarter rally propels Port Allen past White Castle

Staff Report

One quarter made all the difference in the battle of two prep basketball powerhouses during an early season showdown last Friday.

A 31-point rally in the second quarter helped three-time consecutive Class 2A state champion Port Allen stave off two-time consecutive 1A runner-up White Castle, 67-52, in front of a packed house at WCHS Gymnasium.

“It was a good night of basketball around,” White Castle head coach Dawan Carter said. “We’re starting out the season pretty well, but we need to clean up some things on defense.”

White Castle’s Jalan Washington (2) tries to stop Port Allen’s Elliot McQuillan at the goal in action last Friday night.

Four points apiece by Jalan Washington and Javen Deloch, along with a bucket by Lemar Link and a Demarion Burks free throw, helped the Bulldogs keep pace with Port Allen.

Port Allen senior Isaiah Howard, who tallied a game-high 27 points, had two layups and a three-pointer in the first quarter.

“Isaiah is a good player, but I never saw him play like that,” Port Allen head coach DiMario Jackson said. “He was on fire tonight.”

He turned up the heat in the second stanza with 16 points to put the Pels ahead, 42-22, at halftime. A pair of Elliot McQuillan 3-point buckets and an eight-point showing by Mason Boston also sparked the Pelican rally.

White Castle gained momentum in the second half off goals by Washington, Lemar Link and a Kendall Gales 3-pointer.

White Castle’s Rontrell Jackson, Kardell Gales and Nijel Simmons put pressure on Port Allen’s Isaiah Howard in a battle of two perennial state contenders last Friday night at White Castle High School.

Washington netted two 3-point shots in the final quarter, but the Pelican defense kept possession from the Bulldogs in the last two minutes to take the win.

“We missed a lot of layups and turned over the ball a bit,” Carter said. “We were not getting them out of transition but it’s still early in the season.

“This is the type of game we need, when we’re playing a three-peater,” he said. “We try to beat the best of the best so we can peak at the right time.”

It was also the type of battle Jackson wants for his Pelicans, whose move to Class 3A puts them on a tougher road to the championship game.

“This is the kind of game we need … great fans, great environment and White Castle always has a great team,” he said. “It’s always competitive and a lot of people know each other … a real good thing going for a Friday night.

“We’re now in 3A, which is a lot tougher, but we’re going to stay humble and keep working,” Jackson said. “We have lot of seniors in our starting lineup – we just need our guys to get us there.”