Bastrop 56, Delhi 54
Nobody seems to remember when Bastrop last started the hoops season 3-0, but Tuesday night's 56-54 victory over Delhi shouldn't be soon forgotten.
Down by 19 in the first half and trailing by 10 entering the final quarter, the Rams appeared destined for defeat in their first home appearance. Instead, Bastrop turned it on down the stretch for a 56-54 win.
"Basketball is a game of runs," Bastrop coach Theabury Odom said. "Tonight, we went on our run at the right time. We made our run late, they made their run early."
Bastrop began chipping away at a 37-20 halftime deficit as Cortlen Newsome reigned in a pair of 3s and Garrett Guirlando scored from down low to bring the Rams within 39-28. Newsome left the game briefly after taking an elbow to the ribs on Guirlando's bucket, but would return in a big way.
Delhi appeared to break the Rams' momentum as Tyler Washington beat the press for a layup and set up Nester Napoleon for an easy bucket to push the difference back to 15, 43-28.
Newsome then drilled a 3-pointer from the left corner and Jordan Rabun scored on a putback. Back on the defensive end, Rabun came away with a steal and set up Newsome on the two-on-one break, closing the gap to single digits, 43-35.
Napoleon's reverse layup and SirQuan Hawkins' driving layup brought the score to 45-37 before Tyler Washington drove the left baseline off of an Abdell Phillips assist to give the Bears a 47-37 lead at the end of three.
Refusing to go away, the Rams opened the final quarter by reeling off nine unanswered points.
Neverless Frazier's 3-pointer off of a Denterrius McHenry assist triggered the flurry, Hawkins navigated the left baseline and Guirlando worked his way inside to draw the Rams within 47-44.
After Bastrop missed a potential game-tying 3-pointer on its next possession, Frazier's jumper from the lane trimmed the margin to one.
Tyler Washington made the second end of a shooting foul to break the Delhi drought, but Guirlando fed McHenry underneath to tie the game at 48.
Held to a single point on their first seven possessions of quarter number four, the Bears regained the lead on Cadavius Leggins' bucket from the paint with just under four minutes to play.
Hawkins then set up McHenry from point-blank range to square the score at 50.
Brandon Williams and Guirlando traded deuces before Leggins followed his own miss to put the Bears in front 54-52 with 2:28 remaining.
Bastrop claimed its first lead on its next offensive trip as Newsome's 3-ball put the Rams up 55-54 with 2:12 to play.
With both teams turning up the defensive heat, the two sides combined for seven straight scoreless possessions.
After Frazier corralled a defensive rebound, the clock was stopped with 17.2 seconds remaining while Phillips was treated for an injury to his left leg.
When play resumed, Frazier made the front end of a one-and-one to put the Rams up 56-54. Atoning for a scoreless first half, Frazier tallied 15 points in the final 16 minutes.
"The shots started falling for Cortlen in the second half," Odom said.
One final defensive stop later, the Rams were celebrating.
"Defensively, we stayed man the whole game and made them put the ball on the floor," Odom said. "Hats off to coach (Orenthal) Lusk.Delhi has a really good ballclub. They have played a tough schedule. This was a big win for us."
Delhi jumped out to an early 8-2 lead. Guirlando's 3-pointer and Hawkins' three-point play knotted the game at 8-8. Continuing the three-point barrage, the Bears answered with long distance goals from Nester and Brandon Williams and a three-point play by Phillips en route to building a 20-8 spread by the end of the quarter.
Keeping the pressure on, the Bears led by as many as 19 (34-15 and 37-18) in the second quarter before settling for a 37-20 halftime advantage.
"Early on, we couldn't get our shots to fall," Odom said. "The intensity was there. It wasn't so much what we didn't do as much as what they did. With their length, I knew they were going to keep putting pressure on us."
To the Rams' credit, they kept their composure.
"We're young, so we're still learning to keep our poise in times of adversity," Odom said. "I thought we handled their pressure really well and didn't turn the ball over a lot."
Guirlando scored 12 of his game-high 18 points in the first half to keep the game from getting completely out of hand. Newsome finished with 15, followed by Hawkins with 12, Frazier with five, McHenry with four and Rabun with two.
Nester and Phillips paced the balanced Bears (1-3) with 11 apiece, Tyler Washington had nine, Brandon Williams and Leggins eight, Justin Williams five and Quatti Jones two.
Bastrop made 17-of-50 (34 percent) attempts from the floor and was 6-of-18 (33.3 percent) from 3-point land and 4-of-11 (36.4 percent) from the free throw line.
Delhi shot 18-of-55 (32.7 percent) from the field, 5-of-17 (29.4 percent) from behind the 3-point stripe and was 3-of-5 (60 percent) on free throws.
Falling behind by 19 points wasn't exactly the blueprint, but it was a rewarding victory for the Rams, nonetheless.
"3-0 is a great feeling, not because we're 3-0, but because we've beat three good teams," Odom said.
Notes: Bastrop is tentatively scheduled to play at Springhill North Webster on Thursday night. Jaylen Thomas, a junior running back for the Knights, was shot and killed Monday afternoon. The Shreveport Times The Times reports that police are seeking an adult suspect. ... Bastrop's two previous wins were against Lincoln Prep (58-55) and Vision Academy (79-65). ... Three of the Bears' first four games have been decided by two points. Delhi lost to Neville (51-49) and defeated Shreveport Green Oaks (42-40). The Bears also played Class 4A power Shreveport Woodlawn tough in a 60-51 loss.