Vandy wins physical game over Ellender


Vandebilt's Lionheart Leslie (1) plays through a bloody lip and an Ellender double team of Cameron Parfait (left) and Jared Turner (right) during Thursday's District 8-4A showdown at Ellender. (Photo by Michael Conti/Staff)


A packed gym, bodies on the floor, players fouling out, technical fouls, blood and a couple of dust ups.

Something big must have been on the line on Tuesday night at Ellender High, something like a district championship.

In the end, the Vandebilt Catholic Terriers were the ones left standing following an emotional, intense and flat-out physical 85-75 victory over Ellender that gave the Terriers the outright District 8-4A crown.

There were 46 fouls called in the game and plenty of others that weren't.

"I'm going to put it like this," Lionheart "Fuddy" Leslie, who led the Terriers with 29 points and one busted lip, said. "It wasn't basketball. It was football. It was real aggressive. Everybody was diving on the floor. You have to go for everything. It was intense. Both teams wanted it. I guess we just wanted it more."

Going forward toward the playoffs though, the bigger story for the Terriers is the health of starting point guard Elijah McGuire (14 points). He suffered a right foot injury late in the third quarter, went to the ground and left the game.

McGuire, a star player for the Terriers football team as well who dealt with injuries in the fall, received medical treatment on the sideline, did not return and left the gym on crutches after the game.

More will be known on McGuire's availability for the playoffs today.

"We just don't know right now," Terriers coach Hank Washington said.

The No. 10 Terriers (22-6, 8-0 in district) led most of the night.

They were ahead 22-17 after the first quarter, in which Leslie had a fast-break dunk.

The pace slowed some in the second quarter with a technical foul on Ellender, then a double technical foul for some jawing from both teams, then another technical on McGuire for kicking the ball (to himself) before an inbounds play.

At halftime, the Terriers led 47-41 thanks to some hot outside shooting, which included two 3-pointers from Seth Ward, who had 22 points on the night.

Ahead 52-43 in the third quarter, Vandebilt went on a 7-2 run for a 59-45 lead.

With the Terriers (24-of-34 free throws) ahead 63-52, Ellender center Gibby Talbot (13 points) picked up his fourth foul just before McGuire's injury.

Talbot later fouled out with 2:30 to play in the game, and Washington said the Terriers and Ward did a good job on him defensively.

"Seth did his job," Washington said. "I thought he'd get his usual 25 (points), but Seth did his job, and we had Bailey Pere in there too. Elijah also got a lot of steals when they tried getting it in to him."

Ellender (21-8, 6-2) got a lift at the end of the third quarter when Jared Turner (12 points) banked in a 3-pointer from half court that cut the Vandebilt lead to 64-55 entering the fourth.

With McGuire out in the fourth quarter, Leslie handled the point guard duties and scored 13 points in the quarter, which included making 6-of-7 free throws.

Ellender, which got 24 points from Houston Chatman and 13 points from Cameron Parfait, made a run at the lead with a minute to play getting the score to 76-73 and to 78-75 before allowing quick baskets in transition by the Terriers, who later pulled away for the win.

"We created a turnover and made the extra pass to get the layup then we make a huge mental lapse by not getting back on defense," Gauthreaux said. "You have to play the next play. That really hurt. We cut it to a one-possession game."

With Vandebilt, which got 10 points from Joseph Cantrelle, holding an 8-point lead with under 10 seconds to go, two players had to be separated, and Ellender was called for a technical foul before Ward made two free throws and the game ended.

Washington said the physical play may have benefited the Terriers, who beat Ellender (18-of-27 free throws) 66-62 in the first round of district play earlier in the season.

"I think it caused them to make more mistakes," Washington said. "They kicked the ball out of bounds a lot of times. They picked up a lot of fouls. They were running around so much trying to double team, harass and hold Fuddy, they couldn't see the other players on the court. It kind of helped."

Gauthreaux said it was a hotly contested game.

"We fought hard," Gauthreaux said. "We put ourselves in a good position to win a district title, but Vandebilt got it for a reason. They had superior guard play and excellent 3-points shooters. We competed. We just didn't play very intelligent at times. They came out and shot the ball extremely well, and put us in that deficit we could never get out of. I love the way both teams competed."

VANDEBILT CATHOLIC 44,

ELLENDER 31 (GIRLS)

At Houma, Ellender trailed 30-24 with 2:47 to play in the third quarter before the No. 4 Lady Terriers (26-3, 8-0 in district) closed the game on a 14-7 run for the District 8-4A victory.

"We didn't show any patience on offense," Ellender coach Kenneth Dixon said. "I thought we were playing well. Six points is where I wanted it, but we didn't do what we needed to do defensively. Vandebilt is a good team. They do what they are supposed to do, and they execute."

Vandebilt led 11-8 after the first quarter, 28-19 at halftime and 37-24 after the third quarter and got 11 points each from Jewel Triggs and Leah Washington.

"Give Ellender a lot of credit, they played hard the entire game," Lady Terriers coach Kathy Luke said. "I was disappointed in our effort. I didn't think we were sharp. I didn't think we played well. If we are going to make a run in the playoffs, we have to play better. Defensively we were bad, and offensively, we couldn't get into a rhythm."

Netikie Johnson led Ellender (13-9, 5-3 in district) with nine points, and Amari Banks added eight points.

If Assumption tops Morgan City tonight in District 8-4A, then Ellender and Assumption will have the same district mark at 5-3 and will have to play to see which team gets the automatic second seed in the playoffs from the district, though both teams are expected to qualify for the postseason. Dixon said that game will likely be played Tuesday.

HOUMA CHRISTIAN 48,

ECOLE CLASSIQUE 31 (BOYS)

At Metairie, the Warriors got 14 points each from Shamar Charles and Shane Thompson and improved to 12-8 overall and 6-2 in District 10-1A.

The Warriors led 14-7 after the first quarter, 24-19 at halftime and trailed 28-27 at the end of the third quarter.

The Houma Christian girls game set for Tuesday at Ecole Classique was canceled.

LCSAA PLAYOFFS (FIRST ROUND)

BRIGHTON SCHOOL 68,

COVENANT CHRISTIAN ACADEMY 38 (BOYS)

At Baton Rouge, the Lions ended their season at 9-16 overall after falling in the first round of the Louisiana Christian School Athletic Association playoffs.

The Lions got 16 points from Levi Martin and trailed 32-17 at halftime.