Respect is earned, not given.

The Port Allen Pelicans basketball team garnered respect throughout the state following last season’s run to the state championship game.

That respect has carried over into summer league play where after only a week, the Pelicans have already gone toe-to-toe with some of the elite programs Louisiana.

Port Allen went 2-1 at the New Iberia Senior High team camp to kick off the summer with wins over Lafayette High and Hamilton Christian.

“I really enjoy being around this team,” said Port Allen head coach Derrick Jones. “They really enjoy playing and being around each other.”

The Pelicans edged Lafayette High thanks to Kentae Williams’ corner jumper at the buzzer.

“We joked with him afterward and told him ‘now you’ve done it,’” Jones said. “He has a game winner under his belt. Moments like that stick with you.”

On Monday, the Pelicans traveled to Zachary for a three-game slate against Scotlandville, East Ascension and NISH.

“We went 1-2, but I think Scotlandville is the best team in the state heading into this season.”

Port Allen hung with Scotlandville the entire 40-min running clock game. The Pelicans had opportunities to pull ahead but could not convert in the second half.

Port Allen picked up a single-digit win over East Ascension in the second game of the day.

“People are respecting us now,” Jones said. “Now because of how hard they work, they’re expecting to win whenever we play.”

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