Iowa stays unbeaten, holds off Tors by one point to reach final

Published 9:00 am Saturday, December 17, 2022

By Warren Arceneaux

American Press

IOWA — The host Iowa Yellow Jackets passed their first test of the season, hanging on for a 65-64 win over Sulphur Friday night in the semifinal round of their Mallett Builders Tournament.

Iowa improved to 9-0, its first win by a single-digit margin. The Yellow Jackets will face the Elton, a 54-47 winner over Sam Houston, in the championship game at 5 p.m. today.

Sulphur (9-4) had a chance to win in the end, inbounding the ball under its own basket with 1 second left, but its final shot attempt fell short at the buzzer.

The Tors took a 62-61 lead with 1:46 left, capping a 7-0 run with a steal and Duane Deldrage layup.

Iowa tied the score on a free throw by Desamonte Gradney, then went ahead for good when Dashawn Ceaser and Luke Guillory combined for three free throws. Each set of free throw attempts was set up by a steal, with Kendrick Jasmine making the first and Gradney tipping a pass to Guillory on the second.

Sulphur pulled within one on a putback basket by Addison Constance, then stole the ensuing inbound pass to set up the last-second attempt.

Iowa head coach Rob Melanson said the game showed the Jackets have plenty to work on despite the perfect record.

“We have to learn from silly mistakes like taking the ball out when they had no timeouts,” he said. “We have to get better defensively at certain moments, knowing when to go double-team and when not to. We have to know when to shoot the ball and when to pull it out and make them foul us.”

The first half was a fast-paced affair with Iowa taking a 41-38 halftime lead. Gradney scored 22 in the first half while Sulphur guard Zavien Trent scored 16 of his 22 points.

“We tried to keep it from (Trent) in the second half, and double-teamed him some,” Melanson said. “Sulphur came to play and gave us our first test.

“Ceaser can score the ball. He, Gradney and Landon Langley will have to carry us at times until everyone else can get their legs under them.”

Kohl Navarre added 19 points for Sulphur, including eight straight in the third quarter to force a 47-47 tie.

Girls

Hathaway. . . . . . . . . . . . 66

Lacassine. . . . . . . . . . . . 28

The Hornets clinched a spot in the championship game against Bell City behind a second quarter explosion.

Hathaway led 16-12 after the first quarter but outscored the Cardinals 31-7 in the second quarter to take control. Lamiyah Sanchez scored 13 of her game-high 22 points in the quarter, including 12 in a 23-4 run to start the quarter.

Keely Francis scored 12 points and Chaylee Beard added 10 points for Hathaway. Sydnie Cooley scored eight to lead Lacassine.

Bell City earned a spot in the championship game with wins over Welsh and Iowa.

The final will be played at 3:40 p.m. today.