University defeats Bossier 71-49 in a Class 3A semifinal game

LAKE CHARLES — One year after a heart-breaking overtime loss in the Class 2A semifinals, University High left nothing to chance.

The third-seeded Cubs made 62 percent of their shots from the field and had four players score in double figures.

It all added up to a 71-49 victory over No. 2 Bossier in a Class 3A semifinal that helped highlight Thursday’s action at the Louisiana High School Athletic Association-State Farm Boys Top 28 Tournament at Burton Coliseum.

“I’m really proud of our guys, I thought they prepared very well like they have been throughout the playoffs,” University coach Joe Spencer said. “The start to the game was great. I couldn’t be more pleased with the start of the game.

“Defensively, I thought they did a good job. I told them Bossier was going to make some runs. They weathered every possible storm.”

UHS (29-7) started the game with runs of 8-0 and 11-2 to take a 19-9 first-quarter lead. The Cubs closed it with a 16-5 run. With the win, the Cubs advance to play Richwood (28-6) in the 3A title game set for 4 p.m. Saturday.

U-High, which won the 3A girls title last week, will be trying to sweep the boys and girls titles in any class since John Curtis did in in 2011 in Class 2A.

Sophomore Wayde Sims finished with a game-high 29 points, making 8 of 11 shots from the field and 13 of 15 free throws.

The 6-foot-6 Sims also had eight rebounds. Another sophomore, D.J. White, added 16 points on 5 of 10 shooting from the floor, while 6-7 post junior player Maxwell Starwood had 11 points, seven blocked shots and six rebounds. Skylar Mays, the Cubs’ sophomore point guard and an LSU commitment, finished with 10 points and 10 assists.

Devonte Hall led Bossier (25-9) with 19 points, while Kentrell Hardy contributed 12.

“We got beat by a good University team,” Bossier coach Jeremiah Williams said. “All the credit goes to them. They were able to sit in their zone and use their length to disrupt our shots. Even our jump shots, they had the opportunity to get some tips and blocks.

“They’re a very talented young team. We came to fight and to win, but it didn’t work out for us.”

The Cubs got off to a sizzling start, making 63 percent (7 of 11) shots from the floor in the first quarter. Sims and Mays each had five points, while White added four. Sims opened the game with a dunk off a turnover as U-High scored the game’s first eight points.

An 11-2 run that ended with White scoring a layup in transition made it a 19-6 game with 9.8 seconds left. Bossier’s Hall sank a 3-pointer at the buzzer to make it 19-9.

Hall scored again to open the second quarter. But the pace soon slowed. The Bearkats got within five, at 21-16, thanks to a free throw by Hardy with 2:40 left. The Cubs took a 25-18 lead into the locker room.

Every time the Bearkats managed to make a run, the Cubs always seemed to have the answer. University stretched it lead to 17 in the third quarter and took a 49-32 advantage into the final period.

Bossier continued to make runs at University. One pivotal sequence ended with Jalen Johnson, who recently returned from a knee injury, drew a charge on Bossier’s Malik Dunn, who was subsequently hit with a technical foul. Sims made 1-of-2 free throws to stretch the UHS lead back out to 52-38 with 6:34 remaining.

Bossier came back to score six of the next eight points to pull within 11 at 55-44. A basket by John Jones off a pass from Mays helped ignite the final decisive run for University, which made 23 of 37 shots from the field.

“I feel if we can score points in the paint we’ve got a better chance to win,” Spencer said. “It’s not rocket science. We’ve got size, and we try to use that.”

The UHS players noted that it was good to get a semifinal win after last year’s loss to Riverside Academy. But White added, “All our hard work is paying off, but we’ve got one more game.”

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