Sampson, new mindset lift Madison Prep to 1A final

LAKE CHARLES — Madison Prep coach Jeffery Jones said his team has a different mindset than it had early in the season.

Was it mindset or Brandon Sampson’s unique skill set that made the difference? Or were foul woes and tournament jitters too much for Lafayette Christian to overcome?

Try all of the above.

Sampson scored a game-high 26 points and pulled down eight rebounds as third-seeded Madison Prep claimed a 61-50 victory over No. 2 Lafayette Christian in a Class 1A semifinal that helped highlight Wednesday’s action at the Louisiana High School Athletic Association-State Farm Boys Top 28 tournament.

“I knew coming out we had to have the right mindset,” Sampson said. “When we played them the first time, we didn’t have the energy, and they got over on us. We had to have the attitude to go get every board, every loose ball, and just get everything that comes to us.”

The victory avenged a 60-56 loss to Lafayette Christian (27-4) on Dec. 20. It also puts the Chargers, last year’s Class B champions, in the Class 1A title game against Metairie Park Country Day (26-9) at 2 p.m. Saturday at Burton Coliseum.

“I thought early on in the ballgame it was a little nip and tuck,” LCA coach Byron Starks said. “Then (Madison Prep) went on a run, got a little momentum, and we stalled in scoring. We came out in the second half the same way.

“It took us a while to get the ball in the hole. I think it was a matter of eventually getting warmed up, getting the wheels turning, but it was too little too late.”

Starks also noted that it was LCA’s first berth in the Top 28, while it is the third straight appearance for Madison Prep.

Sampson, the only returning starter from last year, set the tone for Madison by scoring 17 first-half points. The 6-foot-4 Sampson made 8-of-15 from the field. Jalen Brown added eight points, and Jamel Robinson chipped in six for the Chargers, who had 10 players score.

Jordan Ledoux led Lafayette Christian with 19 points and made 8-of-15 from the field. The Knights’ Jacob Broussard and Greg Williams were limited to a total of 10 points, 14 below their combined averages, before fouling out.

With Sampson making 6-of-12 on first-half shots, Madison Prep claimed a 29-21 halftime lead.

The Chargers scored the first three points of the game. Lafayette Christian’s Williams, an eighth-grader, scored five straight points to put the Knights back into contention.

Ledoux scored on a layup in the final seconds to cut the Madison Prep’s lead to 13-11 after one quarter.

Sampson scored 10 second-quarter points to help the Chargers gain a degree of separation.

Sampson made a 3-pointer with 5:36 left that gave MPA an 18-13 lead. Lafayette Christian got back within three points two times, thanks to free throws by Kalob Ledoux and Jacob Broussard.

But with Sampson at the controls, Madison Prep pushed its offense up a notch. A Sampson putback with 5.3 seconds left gave the Chargers their eight-point halftime edge.

“We knew Lafayette Christian was capable of making three or four (scoring) runs,” MPA’s Jones said.

“We were up eight at the half, and we knew we needed to keep at least a 16- or 18-point cushion. Our focus coming out of halftime wasn’t so much scoring as it was getting stops.”

Make stops is exactly what the Chargers did while putting together a 10-0 run to open the third quarter. It took Lafayette Christian more than five and a half minutes to score after halftime. The Chargers outscored the Knights 15-6 in the period.

Madison Prep led by as much as 19 points in the third quarter and took a 44-27 advantage into the fourth quarter.

Ledoux made back-to-back 3-pointers to trigger a fourth-quarter Lafayette Christian charge.

LCA got as close as seven at 55-48. Sampson helped thwart that effort by driving down the baseline for a dunk.

“I wanted to put my team on my back and do everything I could to help us get the W,” Sampson said. “Everybody played their role.”