Terriers pick up key win in 8-4A
Sat. January 19, 2013 at 12:44 a.m. | By Kyle Carrier/Sports Correspondent
Vandebilt Catholic's Lionheart Leslie (1) goes up for a shot against Morgan City on Friday in Houma. (Photo by Chris Heller/Staff)
Lionheart Leslie did everything he could offensively to help lead the Vandebilt Catholic Terriers on Friday night, scoring 21 points to lead all scorers.
But it was Leslie's key defensive play that made the difference in the Terriers' 55-50 win over District 8-4A foe Morgan City.
With the Terriers ahead 53-50 with 15 seconds to play thanks to a pair of free throws from Elijah McGuire, Morgan City's Eric Walker took the ball up court in an attempt to set the Tigers up for the tie.
But just as Walker reached midcourt, Leslie wrestled the ball away and gained possession before being fouled with 4.6 seconds left. Leslie made both free throws to seal the win for the Terriers.
With the game still in question, Leslie said his goal was not to let the Tigers get a shot off.
"I knew if I kept the pressure, I could make it difficult," Leslie said. "I knew in my mind I wasn't going to let him get a clean shot off, and once I had the ball, I knew the game was over. It was a great game to be a part of. The game was in question the entire way."
Vandebilt coach Henry Washington credited his team for keeping their intensity throughout, as no team lead by any more than nine all night.
"Both teams ran their offenses (Friday night)," Washington said. "No one could pull away, but we were able to get some real good looks and hit some key shots down the stretch. I have to credit Aaron Smith. He only scored five points, but he had a couple big steals in the fourth quarter that really helped us."
The Tigers opened the game hot, as five first quarter points from Tyrin Watts (15 overall) helped Morgan City jump out to an early 16-13 lead. Leslie's six points and McGuire's five points in the opening stanza kept the Terrier within striking distance entering the second quarter.
Five more second quarter points from Watts led to an 8-0 Tiger run to put Vandebilt behind 24-18 at the four minute mark before a 9-0 Terrier behind four points from Leslie and five from McGuire (19 points) put Vandebilt on top 30-26 at halftime.
Morgan City coach Jeremy Whittington cited wasted possessions as the key for the Terriers' second-quarter surge.
"I didn't think we had as good of possessions as we did early in the game at that point," Whittington said. "I was excited with how we responded to that and kept answering. We couldn't get over the hump, but games like these are fun to coach. These games always come down to things like these."
Neither team held an advantage in the third, but back-to-back 3-pointers by Jaylen Jones (15 points) pulled the Tigers within one, 39-38 with three minutes to play in the quarter.
But a three-point play by McGuire and a bucket by Chase Hutchinson, put the Terriers ahead 44-39 and eventually 45-41 entering the fourth.
The Tigers pulled within three early in the fourth before Smith's 3-pointer halted the rally and put the Terriers on top 49-43. Morgan City used a pair of buckets by Watts and Malcolm Watkins (eight points) to cut the Vandebilt lead to 51-50 with under one minute to play.
The two McGuire free throws increased the lead to three before the Leslie steal sealed the game.
VANDEBILT CATHOLIC 58, MORGAN CITY 13 (GIRLS)
At Houma, the Lady Terriers pressure defense held the Lady Tigers scoreless in the third and fourth quarters as they coasted to a 26-point halftime lead in the District 8-4A win.
After leading 17-8 following the first quarter, Vandebilt out-scored the Lady Tigers 31-0 over the next two quarters to take a 34-8 lead at halftime and a 48-8 lead entering the fourth.
"I was disappointed that we started off a little sluggish, but we really picked it up as the game went on," Vandebilt coach Kathy Luke said. "We can't get off to the slow start against Ellender. It's something we have to get back in the gym and fix."
Cassidy Barrios led all scorers with 15 for the Terriers, while Sade' Murrell added 12.