Tawasky Johnson netted 12 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter to help propel the Port Allen Pelicans to a 50-46 win over the Plaquemine Green Devils Tuesday night in Port Allen.
Johnson shined down the stretch for Port Allen (8-6), accounting for six points in the last two minutes and getting a key steal with Port Allen leading 50-44 with 10 seconds remaining.
Port Allen led 19-12 at halftime, but the Green Devils came out of the locker room and gave the Pelicans a heavy dose of big man Davonte Russ. Russ spearheaded a 17-5 Plaquemine run that gave the visitors a five-point lead in the quarter.
“We’ve been struggling all year in the third quarter,” said Port Allen head coach Derrick Jones. “We were a little sluggish tonight. We looked a little bit flat in the third quarter, couldn’t score. To their (Plaquemine) credit, they made a run but our guys I think learned and grew from a week ago. This game reminded me a lot of the White Castle game except we were able to bounce back from their run and making a run of our own.”
Gerrod Franklin single-handedly squashed Plaquemine’s run with back-to-back treys, the second of which came at the third-quarter buzzer and cut the Green Devil lead to 32-30.
Franklin hit another big three with 6:45 left in the fourth that gave Port Allen a 35-33 advantage. The Pelicans never lost the lead from that point.
“It was huge,” Jones said of Franklin's 3 to end the third quarter. “G is a senior, and that is what we expect our seniors to do when things aren't going right — to step up and make a play. And he was able to make a couple of tough shots, and it kept us close enough to where we were in striking distance. And we were able to take the lead and hold on to it.”
Franklin hit four threes on the night and finished with 14 points.
Jazz Provo led Plaquemine with 20 points, 17 of which came in the second half.
Port Allen has been in a bevy of close games to start the year. Ten out of 14 games have been decided by seven points or less.
The Pelicans have won three straight games, all of which decided by five or less. Jones said he is happy with the way his young team has responded in close games.
“Some of our guys, it’s their first time playing high school ball so every game creates some kind of new learning experience for them and it’s always good when you can learn and find a way to win as well,” he said.
Port Allen takes on Landry-Walker in the first game of the Madison Prep tournament Thursday. Tip-off is scheduled for 4 p.m.