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Sunday, July 21, 2019

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Parkway upsets Central Lafourche in Class 5A State Playoffs

Parkway upsets Central Lafourche in Class 5A State Playoffs

Fundamentals abandoned the Central Lafourche boys’ basketball team when it needed them the most – the opening round of the Class 5A State Playoffs.

The Trojans missed countless layups and couldn’t buy a free throw throughout the duration of Friday night’s playoff game against Parkway, which was played in Mathews.

As the mistakes piled up, Parkway took advantage, using balanced scoring and efficient defense to walk away with a 62-55 win.

The outcome ends Central Lafourche’s season with a 24-6 record. Though the team’s playoff run ended sooner than the team would have hoped, the 2014-15 season was still historic for the Trojans. The team won its first district championship in several seasons and set the foundation for prolonged future success, according to coach Mark Sanders.

“There’s no question the year was a success for us,” Sanders said. “We were disappointed with the end, but we had a great run. Winning district was really big for us, and I think that our program did great things as a whole. Our freshmen had a great season. Our JV had a great season. I think that we put ourselves in a position this season to get back here in the future.”

But against Parkway, the Trojans ran into a bit of a buzz-saw.

The Panthers got off the bus hot, using offensive balance and hot shooting to take an 18-13 lead at the end of the first quarter. The Bossier City-based high school lost a little bit of its grip in the second quarter, but still was able to stay on top, going into halftime with a 33-30 lead.

Juwan Johnson led Parkway with 16 points, while Artayvious Lynn pitched in 15. The Panthers got contributions from its entire roster, according to coach Mike Guess, who said he was pleased with his team’s win.

“We weren’t intimidated coming in,” Guess said. “We knew it’d be a wild crowd and that Central Lafourche was a quality ball-club. But we liked our team, too. I think we played pretty well, but we could have done even better. I think that a win like this helps you as you get ready for the next games in the playoffs.”

In the second half, the Panthers were able to regain control of the game, stretching their lead to six points heading into the fourth quarter.

The Trojans fought firm in the final quarter, but couldn’t get close to the lead. Sanders said every time his team started to make a run, Parkway had an answer. That, or the Trojans would miss a layup or turnover the ball to half the momentum.

“We never could do what we needed to do to get over the top to get going,” Sanders said. “We couldn’t get that big bucket. We couldn’t get that 3-pointer or whatever that we needed to get them to call a timeout or to get our crowd growing. We had our chances, but we just missed too many layups, man. We missed layups and we missed free throws. We were bad from the foul line, and if you do those things in the playoffs, it comes back to haunt you, and it did that for us – it cost us the game.”

But for as disappointed as he was about the outcome of the game, Sanders’ tone was mostly upbeat throughout the postgame interview. The coach said that he was very pleased with the progress the Trojans made throughout the year, touting that the program made waves.

Sanders said that with a lot of his team returning next season, he fully expects the Trojans to experience success again.

“It’s a disappointing ending, but we had a very nice run,” Sanders said. “We’ll be back. I don’t think there’s any question that these kids will be back. We have really good chemistry, and we have a team that wants to get better.”

The Trojans’ loss was a sign of things to come for the entire local district.

Central Lafourche, East St. John, Hahnville and Destrehan were all ousted in the opening round of the Class 5A State Playoffs, meaning that no one from within the district will be among the final 16 teams to play.

“I didn’t think that’d happen,” Sanders said. “I thought for sure we’d be at least one of the teams to win and advance. But I guess the beauty of a single elimination tournament is that you just don’t know.”