Istrouma holds off Glen Oaks, 71-66

Istrouma High built a commanding lead and then held on late as the Indians posted a 71-66 win at Glen Oaks in boys basketball Wednesday evening.

Devin Bethley sank five 3-pointers and finished with 22 points to lead all scorers. Also hitting double figures for Istrouma (11-4) were Marquise Kaigler (17), Carvis Kaigler (14) and Jost Green (10).

Glen Oaks (8-5) trailed 59-41 after three quarters but got within 68-63 on Chris Dancey’s 3-pointer with 40 seconds left. Bethley connected on 3 of 6 free throws in the closing seconds, and Glen Oaks could only counter with Jalen Variste’s 3-pointer.

“I think we got a little lax, but we were able to sustain our run,” Istrouma coach Aaron Pearson said. “Basketball is a game of runs, and Glen Oaks has that defense so they are always capable of making a run. It only takes two or three shots, and it’s a game again.”

Variste topped Glen Oaks with 19 points and got support from Devin Womack with 17 and Godfrey Wheeler with 10.

“Coach Pearson had his kids ready to play, and he’s got good balance,” Glen Oaks coach Harvey Adger said. “Their bigs (Carvis Kaigler and Marquise Kaigler) played extremely well. With Bethley out front, it was good balance.”

Glen Oaks trailed 59-41 to start the fourth quarter but outscored Istrouma 15-6 in the quarter’s first six minutes. Womack was the catalyst with three steals, eight points and an assist.

Istrouma led 65-49 with four minutes left, but Womack had a steal and a layup on consecutive possessions. Another Womack steal led to Variste’s inside bucket as the Panthers cut the lead to 65-55.

Carvis Kaigler’s putback helped boost Istrouma to a 68-56 lead with 1:20 left, but Glen Oaks came back again.

Chris Thomas scored on a follow shot, and two more Panthers steals led to Womack’s layup and Dancey’s 3-pointer.

With Istrouma leading 68-63, Tevin Walker missed the front end of a one-and-one, but Dancey’s 3-pointer was off the mark with 25 seconds left.

Bethley made 3 of 4 at the free-throw line as Istrouma took a 71-63 lead. Variste’s late 3-pointer provided the final points for Glen Oaks.

“(Istrouma) came out hot, and they played with a lot of confidence,” Adger said. “I don’t think we played exceptionally well out of the gate, but our kids never gave up.

“We’re just hoping that maybe we can meet their guys again in the East Baton Rouge parish tournament next week.”

Glen Oaks took the opening tip and scored on Thomas’ follow shot. Istrouma came back with a 9-2 run highlighted by Bethley’s long 3-pointer from the top of the key.

Bethley’s second 3-pointer put Istrouma on top 17-6 with less than three minutes to go in the quarter. Wheeler hit a 3-pointer, and added a driving basket as the Panthers pulled within 19-13 after one quarter.

Istrouma led 27-20 three minutes into the second quarter, but closed the half with an 11-4 surge. Carvis Kaigler had an assist and a basket, and Bethley connected on a long 3-pointer in the run.

“They are big,” Pearson said of his inside duo of Kaiglers. “And they’re not just big, but they’re athletic at the same time. So they’re getting two and three jumps inside, and that gets you more shots.”