One quarter can make all the difference in a game and it did just that for No. 2 Port Allen.

The two-time defending champs clamped down defensively in the second quarter, outscoring No. 3 20-4 to turn the tide, which molded the way for Port Allen’s 62-35 win in the Class 2A semifinal Thursday night at the LHSAA nonselect boys basketball tournament.

“These guys a really good job of preparation,” said Port Allen coach Dimario Jackson. “Our guys came in with a mindset of what we’ve been talking about all year. Just getting one percent better. Our guys did a really good job of executing that game plan.”

With the win Port Allen advances to the title game for the fourth straight season. Waiting for Port Allen is a matchup with No. 5 Amite who beat No. 1 Lakeview 73-69.

State championship game is scheduled for 5 p.m. Saturday at Burton Coliseum.

Rebounding and defense were the lynchpins to Port Allen’s victory in a rematch of the last three 2A championship games. The Pelicans outrebounded the Hornets 48-23 and Rayville shot 24 percent for the game compared to 48 percent for Port Allen.

“Rayville, they’re a winning program,” Jordan Brooks said. “We knew what they were going to do. We knew the skill level that they had. We just had to go out and play hard.”

Brooks led Port Allen with a game-high 18 points. Elliot McQuillan and Isaiah Howard had 12 points apiece. Howard pulled down a game-high 13 rebounds to go with eight assists. Aries Lewis added eight points and 12 boards.

Camron Smith paced Rayville with eight points.

“I felt like we had them (in the second quarter),” McQuillan said. “We knew we had to keep the pressure on them.”

The game was close early with two ties in the first quarter before Rayville took a four-point lead following two straight baskets by Demarcus Dixon midway through the first quarter.

Rayville led 18-15 at the end of the first quarter before Port Allen’s 20-4 second quarter run that helped the Pelicans claim a 35-22 halftime lead.

Port Allen’s first half momentum carried into the third quarter. The defending champs outscored Rayville 15-4 in the third quarter to carry a 50-26 lead into the fourth quarter.

The Pelicans led by as many as 33 in the game.

“Port Allen is a good ball club,” said Rayville coach Antwuan James. “We knew that coming in. They’re back to back champions for a reason. I’m proud of my guys. They came out, fought and competed. They stepped up and rose to every challenge I asked them to rise up to this season and I can’t be more proud of them. We didn’t get the outcome but overall, we had a productive season.”

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