Defensive change gets Chargers going against Country Day
Increasing its scoring in every quarter, Madison Prep rallied for a 53-42 victory against Metairie Park Country Day in a nondistrict boys basketball game Saturday.
Country Day (18-8), the fifth-ranked team in Class 1A, took the early lead with its deliberate motion offense and accurate shooting. The Cajuns led 16-7 early in the second quarter in a game played at Madison Prep.
Madison Prep coach Jeff Jones then switched defenses from man-to-man to a 1-2-2 matchup zone, and the Chargers finished the half on an 11-0 run to lead 18-16 at halftime.
Jarell Martin, a 6-foot-9 LSU basketball signee, helped Madison Prep (34-6), the top-ranked team in Class B-C, take control in the third quarter as the Chargers enjoyed a 16-7 scoring advantage.
Martin scored 20 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and contributed eight assists. His four-point play and alley-oop dunk in the fourth quarter were key plays. The dunk, off a pass from Brandon Sampson, who added 15 points, gave Madison Prep a 44-27 lead with 5:48 remaining. Delvin Spann hit a 3-pointer and Martin assisted to Dedrick Freeman for a layup as the Chargers took their largest lead at 49-27.
“Martin’s a special player,” Country Day coach Mike McGuire said. “He’s one of the top 20 players in the country. Brandon Sampson also hit some big shots for them. We didn’t attack their zone well for parts of the game, and we turned the ball over too much.”
Country Day center Scott Plaisance, a 6-9 junior, held his own inside. Plaisance, whose sister Theresa is a top player for the LSU women’s team and attended this game, scored 18 points and grabbed nine rebounds. Adding eight points each were Michael Corchiani and 6-2 freshman J.C. Younger.
“Country Day should advance to the Top 28 this season,” Madison Prep coach Jeff Jones said. “Plaisance is a tough, hard-nosed kid. We didn’t handle their motion offense well. We sped up the game with our zone. We moved Jarell around some to get him open. Jarell had another great game. He’s so unselfish. He’s a facilitator and team leader. It’s been a pleasure to watch him evolve as a player the last few years.”
Plaisance scored the first basket of the third quarter as the Cajuns tied the game at 18. Younger hit his second 3-pointer to cut the Madison Prep lead to 23-21 three minutes into the third quarter. Madison Prep went on an 11-2 run to push its lead to 34-23 after three quarters. Sampson had seven points in that run.
Sampson and Chad Williams had missed several games with injuries. Madison Prep is back at full strength.
“Sampson is a real finesse- type guy who plays with a lot of energy,” Jones said. “Everything is rounding into shape for us as we get closer to the playoffs.”
Country Day is also hoping for a deep playoff run. The Cajuns are a balanced team with four players who average double-figure scoring.