KIPP-Booker T. Washington stuns White Castle to reach Class 1A boys basketball semifinals

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To be the best and to play with the best, have a game plan ready and execute it. That was the case Friday night in White Castle for KIPP-Booker T. Washington.

the reincarnation of the Booker T. Washington School in New Orleans since Hurricane Katrina enjoyed a historic moment, toppling top seed White Castle in the 2019 LHSAA Class 1A Boys Basketball quarterfinals.

The 10th seeded Lions, a first year playoff eligible program, held on for a 68-62 win to punch their ticket to “Marsh Madness” in Lake Charles next week.

“We have no seniors so we have a young team and our kids have fun and play together,” said KIPP-BTW coach Kenny Allen.

It looked like coach Troy Green and his Bulldogs in search of a third straight 1A title were going to cruise to the next round, leading 20-11 after the first quarter but the lead dwindled to 29-25 by halftime.

The third quarter proved to be a pivotal one. Already with momentum in hand, the Lions with 2:05 to go in the quarter broke a 37-37 tie surge ahead, 48-42, heading to the fourth. White Castle would never regain the lead despite clawing within a a point or two of catching KIPP-BTW.

“This last game here does not tell the story of our season,” Green said.

With 3:34 to play, Unique Young’s three-point play drew White Castle to within 54-52 but the Lions had an answer every time they needed one. White Castle’s best chance to retake the lead came with 50 seconds left when Keyon Giroir free throws made it 60-59. Down the stretch, the Lions were clutch at the foul line to survive and advance.

The second quarter saw White Castle up their early lead to 10 points on a basket by Darian Pierce with 5:25 to play in th half, 27-17. The Lions were not ready to go away, fashioning a 8-2 run started by a Tyrese Johnson basket with 2:40 to play in the half.

“We executed our game plan and we knew we would be facing a great team and they have a great winning tradition,” Allen said. “My kids are resilient, took notice of the game and answered.”

Tyrese Johnson’s layup with 4:30 to play in the third quarter started a 13-7 run for the Lions. He later added a three-point play.

KIPP Booker T Washington was led by ohnson with 23 points, Byram Ratliff added 18 points and Shapaca Smith scored 12.

White Castle was led by Keyon Giroir with 25 points, Unique Young with 15 points, and Javier Batiste with 8 points

“Down the stretch we made a run but every time we got close, BTW would get the loose balls and the rebounds,” said Green. “We had a 25-7 record this year a good season overall and we lost eight seniors.”

Next up, KIPP-BTW (19-11) will face No. 4 seed Delhi, a 60-59 winner Friday over No. 5 seed Lincoln Prep.

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Randy Pistorius

Randy Pistorius

Reporter

Randy Pistorius is a lifelong resident of South Louisiana and is currently working in the communications field in the Baton Rouge Metropolitian Area. Randy’s start in journalism came while still in high school at De La Salle in New Orleans and that carried with him to Southeastern Louisiana University where he wrote for the Lions Roar and also worked in…

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