Brusly celebrated more than the Mardi Gras holiday Friday.
The BHS basketball team captured its second consecutive District 7-3A championship 59-54 over Port Allen before a standing-room only crowd of 1,200-plus at PAHS Gymnasium.
The victory gave Brusly (22-7, 8-2) its first consecutive basketball district titles in more than three decades. It also marked the first Brusly win on Port Allen’s court since the 1998.
Donaldsonville’s win against visiting St. James Friday also secured the outright title win for the Panthers. St. James and Donaldsonville will decide the second and third place spots either by an extra game or a coin-flip.
Traveon Thibodeaux propelled Brusly with 17 points, while Donald Williams scored 20 and DiMario Willam netted 14 to power the Panthers to victory.
“I’m so proud of our team tonight,” Brusly coach Harold Boudreaux said. “Usually it’s one or two guys who step up, but this time it was the entire team.”
Nick Parker led Port Allen with 20 points, including an 11-for-11 showing at the free throw line. Nelson Allen and Jarius Turner had eight apiece, while Ishmael Lane had seven and Marcus Keyes notched seven.
Both teams will head into the Class 3A playoffs. The Louisiana High School Athletic Association will announce brackets Thursday once teams settle ties.
Brusly will get a homecourt advantage for the opening round. Port Allen entered the week ranked 11th in the power ranking and still had a solid shot at staying home for the bi-district round.
“They got us tonight,” Port Allen coach Brandon Ricard said. “It was down to the wire and a very good game, and all the kids played hard. Brusly stretched it out with senior laden leadership.”
The battle on the hostile Pelican court gave the Panthers a good preview of what awaits them, Boudreaux said
“This was a playoff atmosphere,” he said. “I tip my hat to Port Allen. As always, they played a very hard game and this was just the kind of preparation our guys need for the playoffs.”
Ricard emphasized to his players after his game that the season is far from over for the Pelicans (15-9, 6-4).
“I just told them that we’re still in the playoffs, that they should get some rest and get back to practice,” he said. “Last year, McKinley came into the playoffs seeded fourteenth and they made it to the championship game. Anything is possible.”
Such could be said about the clash between the West Baton Rouge rivals. Neither team gained a solid advantage in the first quarter, which the Panthers finished ahead 8-7.
Thibodeaux did most of the work the first quarter for the Panthers when he posted two buckets and added two of three free throws. Micah Spears accounted for the other basket in the first stanza.
Nick Parker posted a three-point shot, Nelson Allen netted one shot and Jarius Turner bucketed two free throws for the Pels in the opening quarter.
The Pelicans finished the night 17-of-22 from the free throw line, while Brusly was 14-of-19.
Both teams turned up the heat in the second quarter, but Brusly maintained the upper hand and led 28-25 at the half.
Thibodeaux posted six points in the first quarter, while Williams and Christophe each hit three-point buckets for the Panthers.
Parker made his first four in a perfect showing of 11 free throws. Turner and Marcus Keys each netted four apiece, while Allen came through on a bucket and two more free throws.
The Panthers also got help off a pair of DiMario Jackson free throws.
The tight battle continued in the third quarter, in which the Pelicans outscored the Panthers by one two to trim the deficit.
Parker aced five free throws and netted one more basket for the Pelicans.
Christophe fired a three-point bucket for Brusly. Williams came through on two buckets and trio of free throws and Jackson posted five points.
Brusly outscored Port Allen 16-13 the final quarter. Thibodeaux had five points, while Jackson and Williams had four apiece for the Panthers.
Parker had four points in the final quarter for PAHS.