For the first time in 11 years, the Port Allen Pelicans are heading to the Top 28.
No. 7 Port Allen pulled off the 62-59 upset over No. 2 Red River Friday night in Coushatta.
With the Pelicans trailing 59-57 with under one minute left, Marcus Joseph missed two free throws that could've tied the game, but more than made up for it less than 30 seconds later when he hit the go-ahead corner three that gave the Pelicans a 60-59 lead with 15 seconds left. Joseph finished with 11 points on the night.
Two Tawasky Johnson free throws put the game on ice.
"It was so many emotions swarming at the same time," Port Allen head coach Derrick Jones said Saturday morning reflecting on the outcome. "I wanted to jump in the mosh pit and with them, but didn't want to show up the great fans from Coushatta. I was just excited for our kids and our fans."
The game was a dogfight from the beginning with no team holding bigger than a six-point advantage the entire night.
Port Allen held a 16-10 lead in the first quarter before Red River went on a 12-6 run that tied the game at 22 apiece.
Billy Ferguson's 3-pointer helped Port Allen regain the lead, but the Bulldogs went into halftime with a narrow 31-29 lead.
Jyron Allen's three with less than one minute left in the third boosted the Pelican lead to 47-41. Port Allen led 47-43 heading into the final period.
Ferguson's bucket gave Port Allen a 53-47 advantage before Red River responded with a 6-0 run to tie the game with 2:41 remaining. The game was later tied at 55 and 57 prior to the Bulldogs claiming a 59-57 lead with 47 seconds left, which led to Joseph's game-winner.
"Julien Jarvis made the pass out to Marcus in the corner and he hit it," Jones said. "It was incredible. "Marcus played unbelievable. Everybody contributed. The guys who didn't play stayed engaged in the game."
Johnson had a team-high 14 points, followed by Gerrod Franklin's 13 points.
Emaryeon McDonald and Jaylen McDonald had 16 each for Red River.
Despite the three-hour commute, Jones said the Port Allen faithful showed up in the stands and it was much appreciated.
"Our fans were incredible," he said. "We appreciate them so much. That's what makes this community special."
The Pelicans are set to take on No. 6 Lake Arthur Monday at 8 p.m. at the Burton Coliseum in Lake Charles.