Pa second round win

The Pelicans topped Mansfield Tuesday to advance to the quarterfinals.

Port Allen is competing in a new division in this year’s playoffs, but the results remained the same on Tuesday night.

The top-seeded Pelicans earned a 62-52 win over Mansfield, pushing them through to the state quarterfinals for the fifth straight season. It was also Port Allen’s 16th consecutive postseason victory.

Although, Mansfield was no easy out.

The Wolverines hung around in the first half. Even when Port Allen jumped out to a 19-point lead in the third, Mansfield went on a 12-0 run that cut the deficit to single digits in the final quarter.

The Pelicans were able to hit their free throws late to ice the game.

“We got our legs back under us in the third. We haven’t played since Feb. 15, so we knew we were going to have some struggles,” Port Allen head coach Dimario Jackson, Sr. said. “We have to do a better job of rebounding as a team, but I thought we guarded them well. 

“They had a bit of a run on us in the fourth quarter. We got lazy with the basketball and had some uncharacteristic turnovers. But at this point, it’s all about winning and surviving to see another day. We’ll be better on Friday.”

After winning three straight Class 2A state titles, Port Allen is now competing in the newly-formed Division-III Non-Select division this postseason.

The Pelicans enjoyed a first-round bye. 

In their second-round matchup against Mansfield on Tuesday night, they started with a 5-0 run following a 3-pointer by Frank Samuel.

In the final seconds of the opening quarter, Aries Lewis made a layup to give the Pelicans a 12-6 advantage heading into the second.

There, Port Allen gained some separation.

Samuel hit another trey to push the lead to 11. Port Allen eventually took a 25-16 advantage into halftime.

EJ McQuillan came alive in the third. He made three transition layups, including one in the waning seconds of the period that put the Pelicans ahead by 19.

That lead reached 21 early in the fourth quarter, but then Port Allen got sloppy with the ball.

Their miscues allowed Mansfield to unleash a quick 12-point flurry to cut the deficit to nine.

Port Allen’s defense then stepped up. Isaiah Howard came through with a steal and finished with a big breakaway dunk to put the Pelicans back up 12.

From there, Port Allen closed the game out from the free-throw line.

Coach Jackson said that the long break presented a challenge in preparing for the game.

“We had to try to keep them locked in over that time. It’s late in the year, so you’re only doing so much at practice,” Jackson said. “It was all about staying sharp, but also trying to stay in game shape. Those were really our main focal points in preparing during the layoff.”

McQuillan led the Pelicans with 23 points. Howard was close behind with 18, and Lewis chipped in with 10.

The victory improved Port Allen’s record to 26-4. 

The Pelicans will now face eighth-seeded Ville Platte in the quarterfinals. The two teams met back on Dec. 10. The Pelicans won that matchup, 71-47.

“We have to take care of the ball; we can’t get lazy,” Jackson said. “Team rebounding has to improve. We also have to get better at dominating and putting our opponents away.”

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.