Port Allen and Brusly are no strangers in high school sports. Both come into their non-district showdown Friday with one similarity.
They’ve played a slew of tough teams, many in higher classification during the non-district slate. But one difference lies between the Panthers and Pelicans Port Allen coach Derrick Jones said.
“We’re both playing tough teams, but Brusly is beating the tough teams,” he said. “Kirby Loupe is doing an awesome job there, and it’s not like they’re full of veterans.”
Jones hopes to reverse the trend when the Panthers visit the Pelican court for action at 7 p.m. Friday.
This will be Jones’ first taste of Port Allen versus Brusly.
“Rivalries are healthy, and as long as it stays on the court and it’s healthy off the court,” Jones said.
PAHS closed the week with a 60-54 loss to Breaux Bridge in a non-district showing on Jan. 5.
“We’ve played quality programs toe to toe but couldn’t finish down the stretch,” Jones said. “If we could finish the right way, we’re going to be in fine shape once March rolls around.”
The Pelicans pulled from a 10-9 first quarter for a 23-19 lead at the half.
Breaux Bridge powered back with 25 points in the third quarter and held the Pelicans to only eight. PAHS grinded out 23 points in the fourth quarter and held BBHS to 16, but it was not enough to pull past the third-quarter fallout.
Kelvin Murphy led the Pels with 17 points, while Julian Jarvis had 15 and Caleb Larence had 12.
Despite an 8-12 record, the Pelicans have lost most of their games within five points against higher classification schools, such as 4A Breaux Bridge.
Jones credits the rigorous training the Pels have endured since August.
“We’ve made tremendous progress,” he said. “I’ve put them through hell since August, we had a practice one Saturday morning after a freshman game and the comments were that they could see why we play so hard … practice is brutal.”
The special element is pressure Jones said.
“Pressure does two things: It bursts pipes and makes diamonds,” Jones said. “They’re going to be diamonds … really hard, really rare.” “Now we’re in January,” Jones said. “It’s time to cash in. We’ve put all this money in the bank. Now it’s time to cash out, take out our investment, lay the foundation, time to go out and enjoy the fruits of our labor.”