Last-second heroics, Gradney basket gives Iowa victory

Published 7:00 am Saturday, February 4, 2023

Iowa stole one from Lake Charles College Prep, beating the Trail Blazers 59-58 Friday night on a Desamonte Gradney layup with eight-tenths of a second left in the District 3-3A game.

Gradney’s winner, set up by a steal and pass by Donovan Winey, capped a 12-3 run to end the game by Iowa (23-5, 8-1).

LCCP (21-9, 7-1) led most of the way after an 11-0 run that began midway through the first quarter. The Blazers held the lead until the closing seconds.

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The Yellow Jackets win left each team with one district loss with two weeks left in the regular season.

“We won the final seconds, that’s all that matters,” Iowa head coach Rob Melanson said. “It wasn’t coaching, it was all heart by our kids and a great steal by Winey. It was gut-check time. The last two minutes. We had to start taking care of the ball. We got a few stops, they missed a few free throws and Winey made the play at the end.”

LCCP led by as many as 12 points early in the fourth quarter, but a 10-2 Iowa outburst whittled the lead to four.

A driving basket by Ryan Batiste put the Blazers up by eight points with 3:25 left, but the next three Blazers possessions ended with a missed shot, two missed free throws and a jump ball that went to Iowa.

The Yellow Jackets pulled within two on baskets by Gradney, Luke Guillory and a free throw by Dashawn Ceaser.

Batiste made two free throws to put LCCP up 57-53 with 44 seconds left. Ceaser and LCCP’s Kyrian Gaskins exchanged free throws before Cameron Washington drilled a 3-pointer for Iowa with 5.6 seconds left.

Winey stole the ensuing inbound pass and fed Gradney for the winner.

Ceaser finished with 33 points. Gradney added 15.

Donald Brown and Batiste scored 12 each to lead LCCP.