Ferriday headed to title game

Published 12:54 am Friday, March 7, 2008

LAFAYETTE, La. — It’s hard to describe how life feels in the moments after a big win. It’s even harder when the win paves the way to the state championship.

But Ferriday High School head coach K.G. Watkins found a few words Thursday afternoon that worked — “pure jubilation.”

And you’d better believe that jubilation will still be around at 6:30 p.m. Saturday when the team plays for the Class 2A State Championship in Lafayette.

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Senior Matthew Smith and junior Demarco Lewis came up with big plays on opposite ends of the court Thursday to make that jubiliation a reality.

Smith gave the Trojans a one-point lead by making the second of two free throws with 3.2 seconds left and Lewis partially blocked Lakeside’s attempted game-winning shot as they held on for a dramatic 65-64 win over the Warriors Thursday afternoon in the semifinal round during the LHSAA Boys’ Top 28 Tournament at The Cajundome.

Ferriday, the No. 6 seed, improved to 28-7 on the season and will take on No. 1 seed St. Thomas Aquinas, a 68-47 winner over No. 4 seed Many in the second Class 2A semifinal game.

“Both teams are great teams. Both teams can play,” Watkins said. “Whoever it is, we’ll have our hands full.”

But the Trojans know what that’s like — they had their hands full Thursday with the No. 7 Lakeside. The Warriors went into this game with the same record as the Trojans, but finished with a 27-8 mark.

Led by Demarcus Taylor and Samuel Wallace, Lakeside jumped out to a 19-16 lead over Ferriday at the end of the first quarter. But the Trojans held the Warriors to 11 points in the second quarter and had a 33-30 halftime lead.

Even though Lakeside scored 34 points in the second half, Watkins said his team’s defense stepped up and made some big plays when it had to.

“In the first half we didn’t do very well. In the (fourth) quarter, we were able to get a few steals,” Watkins said. “We played well, but the game shouldn’t have been this close. We missed too many free throws. But Montrell (Tennessee) and Matthew came through for us.”

Tennessee led Ferriday with 21 points while Smith finished with 14 points and Alrion McKeel added 12 points. Taylor led Lakeside with a game-high 28 points and Wallace chipped in with 13 points.

“I was so happy for the seniors to an opportunity to play for the state championship. The whole team. They worked so hard,” Watkins said.