New Living Word’s Tracy Hampton goes up for the layup against three Sicily Island defenders Friday at Burton Coliseum. (Rick Hickman / American Press)
Last Modified: Monday, March 17, 2014 10:55 AMAfter four years as a member of Louisiana High School Athletic Association, New Living Word claimed its first Class C boys’ basketball championship.
The Lions overcame early foul trouble and used their high-powered offense to overwhelm Sicily Island for a 91-72 victory.
New Living Word (34-8) committed four fouls in the opening minute but calmed down as the game went on.
“We started off how we wanted to, but we didn’t capitalize when we got New Living Word in foul trouble,” said Sicily Island coach Curtis Shavers. “We wanted to continue to penetrate and attack and we, for some reason, stopped doing those things that we thought would have been to our advantage.”
Tracy Hampton and Javier Roper each netted 28 points for the Lions.
Roper played 4 minutes in the first quarter due to foul trouble, but was able to score 14 points in the second quarter to help New Living Word to a 47-31 halftime advantage.
“We were just hungry for it,” Hampton said. “I said to myself, when (Roper) got that second foul, ‘I’ve got to put the team on my back.’ I’ve been here three years in a row, it was time for me to bring it home.”
Roper finished with 12 rebounds for a double-double and Xavious Williams scored 16 points and pulled down 15 rebounds.
Devion Dunbar’s 25 points and 10 rebounds led the way for Sicily Island (25-14). Larry Plumber added 22.
Sicily Island climbed back into the game late in the third quarter and managed to cut the deficit to 64-52 with less than 7 minutes left to play.
New Living Word responded with an 11-2 run to break the game open again and was able to hold a comfortable lead until the final whistle.
“We think like winners, eat like winners, work like winners, pray like winners, study like winners,” said New Living Word coach Jerry Baldwin. “That’s who we are.”
Both teams launched up plenty of 3-pointers, though neither found much consistent success. The Tigers went 5 of 27 from behind the 3-point arc, while the Lions were 7 of 26.
Plenty of underclassmen talent was on display for both teams, leading Shavers to say he’s pretty sure the teams will meet again.
“We want, and we hope, and we look forward to being back here next year,” he said.