Washington-Marion overcomes late deficit to win playoff opener

Published 1:16 am Saturday, February 24, 2024

The game was slipping away from No. 17 Washington-Marion in the second half, but the Charging Indians regrouped to beat No. 16 Lake Charles College Prep 45-43 on Friday in the bi-district round of the select Division II playoffs.

“It is resilience,” W-M head coach Robert Palmer said. “We came in with a game plan.

“It worked sometimes, and it didn’t work sometimes. We just kept playing hard.”

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It was the second time the Charging Indians won by two points on the Trailblazers’ home court this season.

Despite one player with previous varsity experience, W-M (19-12) won a first-round game for the third time in four seasons.

“This a brand new team,” Palmer said. “Only one guy ever played varsity.

“We had nobody with playoff experience, so this is a big win for us.”

Elijah Gims led W-M with a game-high 19 points, and Ashton Savoie added 13. Elijah Garrick led LCCP (13-9) with 17 points, eight rebounds and five steals, and Izayha Brown had nine points and 11 rebounds.

LCCP (13-9) closed out the third quarter on a 9-0 run to take a 37-30 lead after W-M had tied the game three times and briefly took the lead on a shot by Savoie. The Trailblazers led 43-37 with 5:30 left on a bucket in the lane from Raeon Cahee, but W-M made its move with an 8-0 run to close out the game. Gims scored in transition after grabbing a defensive rebound to tie the game at 43-43 and made one of two free throws with 1:12 left for the lead, 44-43.

“We didn’t rebound the ball at all, but I think we shot a lot better in the second half,” Palmer said. “We were down 22-19, holding a team to 22 points in the first half is actually really good, but we have to score also.”

LCCP got the ball back one more time with 2.6 seconds left, but Garrick’s halfcourt heave went off the rim.

The Trailblazers outrebounded W-M 33-23 but struggled offensively early, going 1-for-11 in the first quarter and falling behind 7-3. But LCCP shot 50 percent in the second quarter and took its first lead on a shot by Garrick, 10-9, just over a minute into the quarter.