BRUSLY — Brusly High squeezed out a 56-48 victory over New Orleans-based Lusher Charter in Class 3A boys basketball playoff action on Friday, but it wasn’t easy.
The Panthers had to overcome a shower of 3-point shots, a sub-par performance from point guard and emotional leader Demario Jackson and two second-half technical fouls to advance in the quarterfinals.
With the regional win, fifth-seeded Brusly (25-7) advances to play No. 4 Carroll-Monroe in Tuesday’s quarterfinal round.
Jackson and three other seniors were playing their final home game for the Brusly, but it was the lone junior starter who helped provide the spark they needed when Jackson was in early foul trouble and often double-teamed by the Lions.
Travin Thibodeaux contributed a double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds and had seven fourth-quarter points to fuel a 10-2 run after the No. 12 Lusher (22-9) had cut a 12-point lead to three at 42-39. Two of Thibodeaux’s points came on a run-out against the Lusher press, and he hit three-of-four free throws down the stretch.
“It wasn’t Thibodeaux’s best game,” Brusly coach Harold Boudreaux said.
“I’ve seen him play better, but as well as he played tonight, you can only imagine how good he can be.”
Boudreaux also handed out complimented to his other starters for taking care of business when Jackson went to the bench with foul issues.
“It’s the playoffs and things don’t always go the way you plan,” he said. “I have to applaud Jay Christophe and Donald Williams and Micah Spears for the way they stepped up.
“Lusher came here and played hard and took on the challenge. They adjusted to just about everything we tried to do.”
Christophe led the Panthers with scoring with 17 points, while Williams had nine and Spears had six to go with nine rebounds.
“We could have played better, but we did pretty good,” said Christophe of his last home game. “There’s always room for improvement. We just have to keep playing hard and try to win that next game.
“We all had to step up, but I felt we were in control. I knew we’d pull together and play hard to the end.”
The Lions were led by smooth-shooting Mike Windsay, who had two 3’s on his way to a 12-point first half. He added eight more points in the second half to finish with game-high 20.
Lusher Charter made a total of seven 3s. Jermaine Long hit three, all in the second half, and finished with 14 points. Jordan Smith had two 3s for his only points.
“We usually shoot about 10 3’s a game,” Lusher Charter coach Hunter Higgins said, “so it’s good that we got that many. They’ve got a good team, they’re well-coached, and they just made more plays than us.
“We needed to probably keep it in the forties to have a chance. In the first half we did, but in the second half we had our opportunities. They just got away from us.”
One opportunity came at the end of the third quarter when Jackson was whistled for a technical foul. Windsay made both free throws, and Long quickly added a 3-pointer for a five-point turnaround which cut the lead to 37- 32 and gave the excitable Boudreaux cause for concern.
Christophe had earlier picked up a technical in the third quarter when he reacted to having a ball thrown at him.
In the end the bigger and more physical Panthers widened the margin to 52-40 with 3:18 to go and held on for the victory.