Basketball: Tough Shaw overcomes key injury to win at John Curtis

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RIVER RIDGE – Mentally tough and physically prepared. That would best describe the current version of the Archbishop Shaw Eagles.

Playing without star guard Isiah Barnes, the Eagles faced a good, hungry team at John Curtis Christian Tuesday night. The talented Patriots were coming off two losses in league play and were determined to hold serve in River Ridge and to turn things around in District 9-5A play.

For a half, it certainly appeared that the Patriots would accomplish the task at hand.

Then came the second half.

Then came the Eagles.

Shaw rallied from a halftime deficit to dominate and pull away late for a 65-48 victory over John Curtis.

With Barnes out, junior Kam Johnson and senior Rodney Phillips picked up the slack.

Johnson pierced the Patriot defense with his quickness off the dribble, creating opportunities with great frequency in the second half. Johnson finished with 23 points, including 18 in the decisive second half, along with nine rebounds and two assists.

“I didn’t want to let Isiah down,” Johnson said. “He would have loved to be here. I didn’t want to let him down. That’s my guy. We know we can’t really replace him so we had guys who had to step up. We just had to lock in on defense. Our shots weren’t falling the first half. The second half, they started falling and we played a little defense.”

Phillips was simply tough inside, posting a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds.

“We didn’t have one of our key point guards,” Phillips said. “I felt like I had to turn it on in the second half. I wasn’t playing well in the first half. I had to come out and play better for my team, to rebound, score, whatever. Us playing better on defense led to offense in the second half. Coach (Wes Laurendine) has been preaching mental toughness since my freshman year. We have to bring it through the playoffs and all the way through March.”

Austin LaSalle was solid with 10 points and four rebounds and Jene Baquet finished with nine points and five rebounds.

The Eagles took great care of the basketball, committing just two turnovers.

Things started very well for the home team.

After trailing 2-0, John Curtis went on a 10-0 run and led 16-10 after one quarter.

The Patriots built the lead to 28-18 in the second quarter before Shaw began the turnaround, closing the half on a 6-0 run to cut the deficit to 28-24.

The Eagles came out of halftime breathing fire, going on a 10-0 run to grab a 34-30 lead and Shaw would never trail again.

After Curtis cut the deficit to 34-33, the Eagles controlled the rest of the quarter to take a 45-38 lead going to the final period.

In the fourth quarter, John Curtis got within 51-45 but would get no closer. Shaw closed the game on an 8-0 run to win convincingly, outscoring the Patriots 41-20 in the second half.

“We weren’t doing what we should have been doing in the first half,” Laurendine said. “Once we did that, we got ourselves scoring and once we start scoring, we’re hard to keep up with. Not having Isiah, I told everybody it’s not next man up, it’s everybody up. That’s what we talked about. Guys stepped up. Kameron’s a special player and Rodney did the job. They’ve been in big games the last four years.”

Darius Rockett led the Patriots with 14 points and four rebounds, Laron Louis had 10 points, eight rebounds, three assists and three blocks and eighth-grader Autrail Manning Jr. had 10 points, all in the second quarter.

Shaw (20-3, 6-0) remained unbeaten and first in Catholic League play. The Eagles travel to Archbishop Rummel Friday night at 7 p.m.

John Curtis (15-5, 3-3) will host St. Augustine Friday at 7 p.m.

“I’m just so proud of my guys and how they responded,” Laurendine said.

FINAL
SHAW 10 14 21 20 — 65
JC 16 12 10 10 — 48

Scoring:
SHAW—Kam Johnson 23, Rodney Phillips 16, Austin LaSalle 10, Jene Baquet 9, Aiden LaSalle 4, Christian Creppel 3

JC—Darius Rockett 14, Laron Louis 10, Autrail Manning Jr. 10, Buddy Taylor 6, Marlon Prout 3, Michael Turner Jr. 3, Mark Johnson Jr. 2

Rebounds:
SHAW 33, JC 33

Turnovers:
SHAW 2, JC 8

Area Prep Basketball Results from Tuesday, Jan. 25

Boys
Albany 72, Jewel Sumner 52
Amite 50, Pine 49
Archbishop Hannan 66, Salmen 52
Archbishop Shaw 65, John Curtis Christian 48
Carver 50, Scotlandville 38
Country Day 66, West St. John 35
Destrehan 53, Thibodaux 36
Donaldsonville 52, Patterson 36
Episcopal 77, Lakeshore 66
French Settlement 72, Capitol 33
Hahnville 58, Terrebonne 42
Holden 45, Christ Episcopal 36
Jesuit 48, Archbishop Rummel 33
Livingston Collegiate 46, Lusher Charter 36
Lutcher 76, E.D. White Catholic 44
Mandeville 56, Covington 35
Newman 71, Chalmette 41
Northlake Christian 87, Morris Jeff Community 54
Northshore 73, Slidell 51
Ponchatoula 63, Hammond 48
Pope John Paul II 64, Thomas Jefferson 35
St. Augustine 57, Holy Cross 56
St. James 87, Berwick 34
St. Martin’s Episcopal 56, St. Charles Catholic 45
St. Paul’s 61, Fontainebleau 41
Tara 57, Riverside Academy 34

Girls
Albany 81, Jewel Sumner 24
Amite 82, Pine 21
E.D. White Catholic 46, Lutcher 29
Kenner Discovery 41, Phoenix 35
Kentwood 43, Varnado 29
Maurepas 43, Mount Hermon 38
Ponchatoula 88, Hammond 44
Salmen 48, Pearl River 43
St. Helena 39, Independence 19
St. James 70, Berwick 14
St. Scholastica 62, Franklinton 36
Terrebonne 46, Hahnville 44

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