Fernandez

Port Allen guard Ji’Siah Fernandez drives to the goal and draws a foul during Saturday’s game against McMain at Madison Prep.

After falling behind by nearly 20 points in the first half, Port Allen got to within three points heading into the fourth quarter before McMain pulled away late.

Foul trouble doomed the Pelicans’ comeback attempt as the Mustangs took control in the fourth quarter on the way to an 80-57 win in the final day of Madison Prep’s Rumble on the River Tournament Saturday night.

“We’re growing. We’re going through the process,” said Port Allen coach Dimario Jackson. “We’re continuously getting better. The results aren’t going like we want it to, but we’ll continue to fight in this process. We’ll get better.”

Port Allen (8-5) finished 1-2 in the tournament. The Pelicans opened the tournament with a 73-57 win over McKinley on Thursday before falling 65-58 to Evangel the following evening.

McMain (9-1) led 15-11 at the end of the first quarter. The Mustangs created a double-digit cushion early in the second quarter thanks to a 14-0 run capped by Corey Chest Jr.’s dunk that gave McMain a 25-11 lead with 5:48 left to play in the first half.

McMain led by as many as 19 points in the second quarter before Port Allen began to chip away at the deficit.

Port Allen closed the first half on a 10-2 run and Ji’Siah Fernandez’s three trimmed the deficit to 34-23 heading into halftime. Fernandez finished the night with 12 points.

 Elliott McQuillan hit two technical foul free throws with 3:38 left to bring Port Allen to within five at 41-36. Heading into the fourth quarter, the Pelicans trailed 50-47 with the momentum seemingly on their side.

“Guarding that ball,” Jackson said of his team cutting the deficit to three heading into the fourth quarter. “Defending, keeping them to one shot and playing with our identity that we have. When we guard, we make shots.”

Things turned back in McMain’s favor early in the fourth quarter when both Jalen Knox and Aries Lewis fouled out. Chest led all scorers with 32 points.

McQuillan was Port Allen’s leading scorer with 15 points. Knox was in double figures with 10.

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