Oak Grove Tournament
Closing out Oak Grove Tournament play with a 2-1 record, the Sterlington Panthers handled the Forest Bulldogs 50-23 on Saturday afternoon.
Leading 25-15 at halftime, the Panthers limited the Bulldogs to two points in the third quarter and eight in the fourth.
“At halftime, we really stressed locking down defensively,” coach Kevin Caballero said.
In fairness to the Class B Bulldogs, the Panthers' depth proved to be a significant advantage.
“It was our third game in three days, but we can play eight to 10 people,” Caballero said. “Forest's kids kind of ran out of gas in the second half.”
Snapping out of a shooting slump, Antonio Gray fired in 18 points to lead the Panthers.
Caballero said the Panthers' fed off of their offense in the final half.
“We shot the ball much better in the second half,” Caballero said. “When you make your shots, it picks you up defensively. Once you start making your shots, you start playing with more energy which leads to some steals and easy layups.
In other tournament action, the Panthers lost to Delhi High School 53-43 Friday (Jan. 3) and beat Delhi Charter 55-36 on Thursday.
“We beat Delhi Charter, then we laid an egg against Delhi. I thought Delhi was an important game for us because I think they're going to win a lot of games,” Caballero said. “We fought back and played pretty well against Forest.”
Delhi Charter 53, Sterlington 43
Receiving 25 points from Antonio Griffin, the Delhi Bears led from start to finish against the Panthers.Taking charge from the opening tip, the Bears vaulted out to an early 14-3 lead.
Malcolm Carter's tip-in and a pair of Cameron Bingham free throws put Delhi up 4-0 out of the chute.
Semaj Colvin's 3-pointer closed the gap to 4-3, before the Bears rattled off 10 unanswered points.
Cameron Bingham's 3-pointer capped the run, extending the margin to 14-3 with 3:14 remaining in the first quarter. Delhi's lead was never again in serious jeopardy.
Leading 18-11 at the end of the first quarter, the Bears went up by as many as 14 (28-14) on Griffin's 3-pointer midway through the second frame.
Delhi was up 31-20 at the break as the Panthers made just 6-of-21 shots (28.6 percent), including 1-of-5 (20 percent) from 3-point range.
Starting the second half with a 6-2 flurry, the Panthers drew within seven early in the third quarter. DeMarcus Matthews' three-point play and D'Adrienne Glass' 3-pointer from the right perimeter, sandwiched around Griffin's baseline jumper, whittled the deficit to 33-26.
Sterlington had two opportunities to create a two possession game, but was unable to cash in.
After turning the ball over on an offensive foul, the Panthers missed three shots on their next possession. Thadius Frazier then batted the defensive rebound to Griffin, who drove the length of the court for the transition basket, putting the Bears up 37-26.
Delhi carried a 39-27 margin into the fourth quarter.
Colvin's rebound deuce closed the gap to 39-29, but Delhi soon matched its biggest lead on Thadius Frazier's driving layup and Griffin's transition basket.
Continuing to hang around, the Panthers used an 8-0 spree to draw within six.
Matthews bagged a pair of free throws and connected on a 15-footer off the pump fake and Colvin drove for a layup. Moments later, Colvin's transition basket off of a Jaylan King steal reduced the difference to 43-37, but the Panthers were running out of time with only 2:32 remaining.
Wesley knocked down both ends of a one-and-one on Delhi's next possession, bringing the score to 45-37.
Things would soon get chippy.
After the two sides exchanged turnovers, Colvin was called for a foul and Carter was charged with a technical.
Frazier made both ends of the one-and-one, stretching Delhi's lead to 47-37.
Back on the other end, Matthews made the second end of the two-shot technical.
Maintaining possession, the Panthers pulled within 47-40 when Glass sank both ends of a one-and-one with 1:29 to play.
Griffin then converted both ends of a double bonus.
Rex Spencer's trifecta from the left side kept Sterlington within striking distance at 49-43 with 1:16 on the clock.
Four seconds later, Griffin again zapped both ends of a double bonus.
Following a Sterlington turnover, Wesley's steal and layup put the game out of reach.
Griffin, who made 6-of-7 free throws, was Delhi's lone double figures scorer. Frazier and Bingham added nine apiece.
Sterlington received 18 points from Matthews and 10 from Colvin.
Delhi shot 48.7 percent (18-of-37) from the floor, including 60.1 (14-of-23) from 2-point range and 14.3 (2-of-14) from beyond the arc.
Sterlington made just 12-of-46 (26.1 percent) field goal attempts, including 2-of-17 (11.8) 3-pointers.
Both teams were stellar from the free throw stripe as the Bears shot 85 percent (17-of-20), while the Panthers made 77.8 percent (14-of-18).
Delhi was plus-3 (15-12) in the turnover department.
Sterlington 55, Delhi Charter 36
Pulling away in the second half, Sterlington upended Delhi Charter in first round action.
D'Adrienne Glass scored seven of his game-high points in the first quarter, staking the Panthers to a 15-6 lead.
Victor Carroll drained two 3-pointers in the second period, enabling the Gators to draw within 27-21 at halftime.
Seizing command in the second half, the Panthers outscored the Gators 14-7 in the third quarter and 14-8 in the fourth.
Three-point buckets by Glass and Jaylon Wade helped Sterlington build a 41-28 cushion going into the final eight minutes.
Glass added four points in the fourth period to help the Panthers put the game away.
Complementing Glass in the Panthers' scoring, Semaj Colvin and Wade found the range for 10 points apiece.
Frank Maxwell tallied nine of his 13 points in the second half to lead the Gators and Demarius Brass pitched in 12.
Sterlington improved to 12-4, while the Gators slipped to 2-8.