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Midland’s Travin Guidry blocks a shot by Fairview’s Jacob Stark in the fourth quarter Friday at burton Coliseum. (Rick Hickman / American Press)

Midland’s Travin Guidry blocks a shot by Fairview’s Jacob Stark in the fourth quarter Friday at burton Coliseum. (Rick Hickman / American Press)

Midland sends Briley out with championship

Last Modified: Monday, March 17, 2014 10:49 AM

By Troy LaFleur / American Press

For the first time in 37 years, a state championship resides in Midland.

With a 61-51 victory over the Fairview Panthers, the Rebels took home the Louisiana Class B state basketball championship.

“As the clock was ticking down we could feel it, but it never sank in that we were state champions until we heard that horn blow,” said senior guard Jake Gautreaux.

For head coach Todd Briley, the championship came in the last basketball game the former McNeese State star will coach as he announced that he will vacate his position to join the school administration.

“I couldn’t ask for a better way to go out. I mean, how many people get to say that they won their last game?” Briley said.

For the Panthers (31-6), the loss meant that the most successful season in school history ended shy of their first state championship.

“We didn’t shoot the ball particularly well tonight and we could have done a better job defensively, but in the end we are bringing something back to Fairview that no one else ever has for boys basketball,” said head coach Ron Stark. “I’m as proud as I can be of my boys; they did a super job this season.”

The teams were never separated by more than two points at any quarter break. It was in the fourth quarter when the Rebels (31-3) put distance between themselves and their counterparts after modifying their defensive outlook.

“At halftime, we had no answer for Maddox,” Briley said. “He was a beast out there. We started to double team Maddox, but towards the end of the game we realized that you can’t really stop him so we decided to shut out their guards. We felt like we could beat them with our guard play and just let Maddox try to make difficult shots on his own.”

Maddox, who finished the season with 36 double-doubles in 37 games, dominated Midland in the post en route to scoring 21 points and grabbing 15 rebounds.

The Midland guards who were charged with the task of shutting out Fairview’s Jacob Stark and Grant Dowies were Gautreaux and Randy Primeaux. They were also the Rebels’ high scorers. Primeaux finished with 22 and Gautreaux with 19.

Primeaux added nine rebounds and four steals and was voted the game’s Most Outstanding Player.

Fairview started the game with six points, but Midland slowed things down as the first quarter progressed to take a 14-12 lead at the break.

The Rebels carried the momentum over into the second quarter and started a 10-2 run. But the Panthers regrouped to go on an 8-1 run to cut the lead to 45-43 at halftime.

The third quarter saw both teams take their turns with the lead, but the fourth quarter was all Midland.

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