MONROE — Chad Williams was comfortable playing a low-key role for top-seeded Madison Prep Academy.
But the 6-foot-2 senior saved his best for last. Williams scored 14 points and added 11 rebounds, leading Madison Prep to a 53-37 victory over No. 3-seed Simsboro in the Class B boys basketball title game that highlighted Wednesday’s action at the Louisiana High School Athletic Association/State Farm Top 28 Tournament.
When LSU signee Jarell Martin got into early foul trouble, Williams and Brandon Sampson stepped up to lead the Chargers (42-6), who claimed the first state title in the school’s three-year history. Sampson scored a game-high 16 points and Martin added 11.
For Madison, the victory avenges a 2012 semifinal loss to Simsboro.
Daniel Ogunyemi had 15 points and 11 rebounds to pace Simsboro (28-7). The Tigers made just 21.5 percent of its shot from the floor (14-of-65).
Williams, a recent Grambling football signee, claimed the game’s Outstanding Player award.
“I tried to get to every 50-50 ball and I tried to get to everything off the glass,” Williams said. “It (state title) just feels awesome. It feels like everything we’ve worked for, all the blood, sweat and tears and all the early, early practices in the morning have paid off.”
Fairview won its seventh straight state title in the first game. The second-seeded Panthers took a 71-38 victory over top-seeded Lacassine in the Class B girls game that opened the four-day tournament being played at ULM’s Fant-Ewing Coliseum. A crowd 2,756 attended the two-game session.
“We defended well,” Madison Prep coach Jeffery Jones said. “That was the key. To hold them (Simsboro) to 21 percent shooting is outstanding.
“All year long these guys wanted to win, not for themselves, but for their school and for the community. We couldn’t ask for a better storybook ending than to come back and avenge the loss.”
Madison Prep led 26-19 at the half, thanks to Sampson and Williams, who combined for 21 points.
The contributions of Sampson and Williams helped offset the fact that Martin went to the bench with two fouls five minutes into the game. Martin did not score in the opening half and the Chargers also struggled at the line, making 7-of-21 first-half free throws.
Simsboro raced out to an early 6-2 lead with Xavier Ogunyemi scoring two early baskets. Sampson and Williams rallied Madison.
Sampson’s free throw with 3:54 left in the first quarter gave MPA a 7-6 lead. The Chargers never trailed again. Sampson executed a crossover dribble and drove for a layup to make it a 12-7 game with 1:31 left in the first quarter. SHS shooting woes began in the first half. The Tigers made just 20.6 percent (7-of-34) of their shots from the field.
“If you had told me Martin would have 11, I’d figure I’d be reaching for the championship trophy,” Simsboro coach Lance Waldron said. “Martin’s is a lot better player than he was last year. And they’re a lot better team than they were last year. We are too, but especially zero (Sampson), man, that kid can play some ball.”
Madison took a 12-9 lead into the second quarter. A 3-pointer by Sampson helped up the MPA lead to 18-12.
Simsboro got within five, at 24-19, on two free throws by Duntavious Harris with 19.8 seconds left. Sampson made two free throws with 1.1 seconds left to send MPA into the locker room with a 26-19 edge
Madison Prep extended its lead in the third quarter. Martin played a role, contributing a dunk and a jumper from the right corner. Sampson, Yuryk Lazare and others contributed. But it was Martin’s 3-pointer with 0.9 left sent MPA into the third with a 40-27 advantage.
The Chargers continued to build their lead by scoring the first seven points of the fourth quarter. MPA led by as much as 20. A 3-pointer by Daniel Oguyemi got Simsboro within 14 at 51-39 with 52 seconds left.
FAIRVIEW 71, LACASSINE 38: Title-game MVP Katie Lemieux scored a game-high 17 points and hauled in 13 rebounds to lead a quartet of double digit scorers for Fairview (44-1).
Ashlea Vizena (15), Natosha Morvant (13) and Karli West (12) were the offensive leaders for the winners. Lemieux made 7-of-11 shots from the floor. Madyson Brasseaux, who finished with 11 points, was Lacassine’s lone double figures scorer.
The Panthers forced 26 turnovers and outscored the Cardinals (39-2) by seven in more points in three of the four quarters.