ST. AMANT — Dutchtown High appeared ready to blow out Walker High after taking a 15-point lead early in the second half of the first game at the sixth annual 5A District Challenge.
Instead, Walker methodically worked its way back into the game scoring the winning points on Brian Domingue’s driving basket with two seconds left for a 47-46 win.
In the other action, East Ascension (11-1) built a large first-half lead, and then held off Denham Springs for a 64-54 win. St. Amant hosted Central in the last game.
Walker 47, Dutchtown 46: Domingue’s score completed a frantic rally by the Wildcats (8-4), who had never led previously but outscored the Griffins 21-10 in the fourth quarter.
“I told them we had to believe we could win,” Walker coach Anthony Schiro said after his team fell behind 25-12 at halftime.
Bryce Brown led Walker with 19 points while Domingue finished with nine. Dutchtown (10-3) got 16 from Patrick Thompson, nine from Austin Sampson and eight from Tevin Thompson, but the Griffins had 18 turnovers, and made 3 of 9 free throws.
Walker played the game without regular contributors Carlton Perkins, Sam Montgomery and Michael Scott, but the Wildcats fought back.
“We’re missing three guys, and we played like it in the first half,” Schiro said. “I let our guys know we were doing OK defensively, but we had to get better offensively.
“They accepted the challenge and picked up the intensity on defense, which led to more offense.”
Dutchtown raced out to a 13-2 lead, and was ahead 15-4 after one quarter. In the second quarter, Walker made just 4 of 12 from the field, and trailed 25-12 at halftime.
Walker gradually began to work its way back into the game in the third quarter, and cut the lead to seven before trailing by 10 entering the fourth.
Dutchtown led 46-41 with 1:07 left, but was let down by its free throw shooting. In the final minute, the Griffins missed the front end of three one-and-ones, and had two turnovers.
Dutchtown’s Nick Whalen went to the free-throw line for a one-and-one with a 46-43 lead and 19 seconds left. Walker rebounded the miss, and fed Matt Graham, who was fouled on a scoring drive to the basket.
Graham missed the free throw, but Dutchtown’s Patrick Thompson was called for a walk after grabbing the rebound. On its second attempt, Walker worked the ball into Domingue, who drove the lane for the go ahead basket with less than two seconds to play.
The clock ran out before Dutchtown inbounded the ball.
“We didn’t play bad in the second half, but we missed the front end of three one-and- ones,” Dutchtown coach Patrick Hill said. “That was the tale of the tape.”
East Ascension 64, Denham Springs 54: Javaughn Williams led three Spartans in double figures with 21 points. Likewise, Denham Springs also had three big scorers led by Bernard Kinchen’s 20.
East Ascension built a 34-13 halftime lead only to see Denham Springs close to 10, a point spread it kept for most of the second half.
“We missed some free throws, missed some easy opportunities and let them back in it,” acting East Ascension head coach Travis Uzee said.
“It’s a credit to Denham Springs, they busted their tails to get back in it, but we need to execute better against the press, and in the half court.”
Action in the 5A District Challenge moves to East Ascension on Friday for three more contests.