BATON ROUGE – The learning process has begun for French Settlement and Central, and this time the Wildcats got the upper hand.
Both teams have different looks to their rosters after graduating several players, but Central used a solid run in the second quarter to spark a 46-26 win over the Lions in Woodlawn Summer Basketball League action Thursday.
“We’re going to press all summer,” Central coach Brian Hargroder said after graduating five seniors from a team that played a slower pace of basketball last season. “It’s not how we’re going to play during the year, probably, but our goal is to play full speed and press the whole game, and we’ll work back from there.”
“We’re trying to find our identity. That’s what we’re trying to do.”
FSHS coach Chase Delrie, who had seven seniors on his roster at the beginning of last season and none this summer, said he knew what to expect coming into summer league play.
“When you come out to this summer league … the speed, the physicality, the talent, the athleticism, for us and what we’re trying to do, it’s tough in those four quarters for to kind of go through it, but I think in the long run it’s what these kids need to grow up and feel what varsity basketball is like,” Delrie said.
“We’re just out here to get better and to learn.”
The Lions battled back to take a 7-6 lead on Gannon Allison’s putback at the end of the first quarter.
After the teams traded a flurry over turnovers, Central started its run, connecting on three 3-pointers – two from Rylen Walker -- while building a 17-10 lead.
“We shot too many (3-pointers) (Wednesday),” Hargroder said. “We shot a lot fewer (Thursday), but we had the right guy shooting them.”
Central capitalized on FSHS turnovers to pull ahead 24-10 before Will McMorris’ layup at the halftime buzzer made the score 24-12.
“We were just a little stronger and more athletic and physical than them and we were able to use that to our advantage,” Hargroder said.
The Lions got as close as 25-14 on Edward Allison’s basket after breaking the Central press, but Central’s pressure helped key a 6-0 burst which extended the advantage to 31-14.
“I thought we were a little rough, just really careless with the ball not being able to pass and catch efficiently,” said Delrie, who pointed out rising freshman Edward Allison and junior Jonas LeBourgeois are the only returning players with significant varsity minutes from last season.
FSHS hit four free throws before Central went into the third quarter up 35-18.
Central’s Malik Hillard had a pair of baskets which pushed the lead to 41-18 before the Lions got 3-pointers from LeBourgeois and Edward Allison to make the score 44-26.
Central jumped out to a 6-0 lead before the Lions scored the final seven points of the first quarter to grab the lead.
“I’m really excited about this young group because I do think as we continue to grow and continue to develop, they do have the pedigree, the competitiveness and the toughness to be a tough little group,” Delrie said. “There’s no complaining. Nobody’s hanging their heads. We’re just trying to compete one possession after the other. As long as we continue to do that, little things are going to start to develop and the success will come.”