There was a showdown of Top 5 teams in their respective classes Thursday night and it was Brusly who took round 1 of the clash of the Westside schools.
Brusly (15-2) led from the opening tip and built a lead as large as 29 points on the way to a 63-45 win in front of a standing-room-only crowd in Brusly.
Heading into the contest, Brusly was ranked No. 5 in Class 3A, while Port Allen (12-3) sat atop the Class 2A rankings.
“Port Allen has a really good team. They’re well-coached,” said Brusly head coach Kirby Loupe. Derrick (Jones) does a good job with their kids and they play with a chip. They play with an edge. Last year, both games at home and away, we were winning at the three-minute mark and it kind of got tough and we didn’t fight back. We just talked about we wanted to compete, we didn’t want to get out-toughed. We talked about playing with a chip on our shoulder tonight, but also playing smart and being able to handle the environment. Our kids played well, they played tough. I think they played well together.
Anybody who missed this one, we play again at the end of the month and I’m sure Port Allen will be more than ready for us.”
Brusly held a 13-6 lead at the end of the first quarter. Freshman Dylan Dominique scored five straight points before halftime to send the Panthers in with a 27-15 advantage.
Nick Penell drilled a 3-pointer that gave Brusly a 20-point lead at 39-19 in the third quarter. The Panthers built a 47-21 lead going into the fourth.
Port Allen raised the defensive pressure in the fourth quarter, successfully cutting the lead to under 15 points, but the deficit was too much to overcome.
“I told the guys I didn’t have them prepared to play at the level that we needed to play this game tonight and it showed in the first half,” said Port Allen head coach Derrick Jones. “Credit to coach Loupe and his staff and his team. They did a great job preparing and getting ready to play this game. They were unbelievable. They played really really well in the first half. In the second half, I think for the first time this season, we played with the energy and effort we need to win a state championship. I don’t know if we can do it for 32 minutes, but I told them that’s the goal.”
Dominique led the way with a game-high 17 points. Brusly had three other scorers in double figures. Davis Stovall had 15 points, Ja’Sean LeDuff had 13 and Penell added 12.
Collin Holloway finished with 13 for Port Allen, followed by nine points from Jalen Knox.
“ It was a great job by West Baton Rouge Parish,” Loupe said. “To have this many people in the gym. What a great rivalry and for it to be clean with no issues and fans just having a good time. Way to go West Baton Rouge. Pretty impressive. I spent 10 years at Port Allen high coaching and now Brusly. I’ve been on both sides. Great people on both sides and it was just two good teams trying to battle.”