For the second straight year, La Marque’s defense suffocated the playoff hopes of Crockett.
The Cougars held the Wildcats to just five second half baskets while a 13-2 run in the second half was the decisive blow that carried La Marque to a 58-38 win over Crockett in a Class 3A, Region III area round game at Oak Ridge High School on Friday night. With the victory, the Cougars (22-11) advanced to a regional quarterfinals date against East Chambers on Tuesday night.
“We pressed them a little in the first quarter, but once we saw they couldn’t handle the ball, we stepped our press,” said La Marque coach Kevin Wilcox, whose team won its 13th straight game.
La Marque never trailed after Jeremy Arvie’s basket late in the first quarter gave them an 11-10 lead and then extended that margin with a 12-0 run in the second that was sparked by Jordan Ivy-Curry, who scored seven of his 11 second quarter points during that spurt. Crockett (13-13) responded with its best offensive stretch with a 10-0 run behind the play of Allen Horace, whose consecutive baskets trimmed the Coogs’ lead to 25-22.
Ivy-Curry’s four free throws in the closing seconds of the first half gave La Marque a 29-22 edge at intermission.
Defense triggered instant offense in the third quarter as the Cougars were able to convert three steals into baskets to break the game open. Consecutive scores from Kordell Stewart and a basket from Willie Johns swelled La Marque’s advantage to 45-29 after three quarters before Justin Murray’s 3-pointer put the game away early in the fourth.
“In watching film, we realized we could go to the rack against them,” said Wilcox. “We knew that with the style of man-to-man they played, all we needed to do was get behind them and convert the open baskets.
Ivy-Curry led the Cougars with 17 points, while Edward Robinson added 11 for La Marque. Johns had seven, Stewart had six, Anthony Williams had five. Arvie and Murray each had three with Re’Shawn Booker adding two for the Coogs.
Horace led Crockett with 14 points.
“We’re playing pretty good basketball right now,” said Wilcox.