McMain edges Carver for Class 4A state basketball title
LAKE CHARLES – Someone had to win and someone had to lose.
For McMain, it was a thrilling victory.
For Carver, it was a hard ending to a great season.
Though the game was played in Lake Charles, it had a distinct New Orleans flavor with a team from the ninth ward playing a team from uptown with New Orleans Mayor Latoya Cantrell on hand.
The District 11-4A rivals battled for the Class 4A state championship and it went down to the wire before the second-seeded Mustangs edged the top-seeded Rams 49-48 at Burton Coliseum Saturday afternoon.
In a game that went down to the final second, Corey Chest calmly sank a free throw with 0.7 seconds left to provide the margin of victory, capping a frantic finish in a game that swung back and forth in the final minutes.
With 7.5 seconds remaining, Solomon Washington split a pair of free throws to tie the game at 48-48. Chest then got space, raced to the basket and was fouled from behind by Solomon, sending him to the line. Chest sank the game-winning first free throw before missing the second and time expired.
Carver led 13-9 after one quarter and the Rams maintained a 21-20 lead at halftime. Carver seemed to take control, outscoring McMain 18-9 in the third quarter to take a 39-29 lead going to the final quarter when the Mustangs rallied.
Chest finished with 11 points and seven rebounds. Alex Hammond led McMain (23-5) with 12 points and was named the game’s Most Outstanding Player.
Dorian Finister topped Carver (29-2) with 23 points while Willie Anderson finished with 13 points.
Carver opened the game on a 5-0 run but McMain answered with a 5-0 run to tie the contest. The Rams then had a 4-0 run and led 13-9 after one quarter.
McMain tied it 13-13 in the second quarter before Carver nudged ahead 20-19 by the halftime break.
The third quarter belonged to Carver. The Rams had a 6-0 run to take a 25-20 lead and finished the period on a 12-7 run to take a 39-29 lead going to the final quarter.
The Mustangs began their comeback, chipped away and pulled to within 43-42 on a basket by Hammond with 3:20 to go in the game. Chest then put McMain ahead with two free throws to make it 46-45 with 1:54 to play. The two teams then changed leads twice, setting the stage for the final seconds.
McMain coach Steven Kelly was ecstatic, emotional about the win.
“To college coaches out there, if you want a kid that will work and represent his family, come to McMain,” Kelly said. “The players at McMain have a role and make sacrifices and they have embraced the role and we are state champions.
It’s all about the kids. McMain was 1-23 four years ago. We are going to enjoy our moment. My kids deserve everything that has happened through their sacrifice. We played the game the right way and we are state champions.”
Carver coach Nate Roche was gracious in defeat.
“It was special to have Mayor Cantrell present here for the game today,” Roche said. “We played well during the game and both sides made adjustments during the game. I expected this game to be tight between two New Orleans schools. Most New Orleanians learned how to fight adversity during the Hurricane Katrina era. Dorian Finister did some great things for us on the court today.”
Finister was embraced by McMain players and coaches after a hard-fought game, consoling him and displaying great admiration for each other.
“Both teams have respect for each other and have character,” Finister said.
McMain 9 11 9 20 49
Carver 13 8 18 11 48
LHSAA Marsh Madness Schedule/Results
Monday, March 8 at Cajundome
Division IV semifinals
(1) Crescent City Christian 57, (5) Country Day 53
(3) Calvary Baptist 67, (2) Riverside Academy 63
(1) Madison Prep 48, (4) Carroll 32
(11) St. Martinville 56, (2) Wossman 49
Monday, March 8 at Burton Coliseum
Division V semifinals
(1) Jehovah-Jireh 59, (5) Grace Christian 40
(2) Family Christian 47, (3) Episcopal of Acadiana 34
Class C semifinals
(6) Ebarb 66, (2) Phoenix 63
(1) Simpson 58, (4) Hornbeck 57
Tuesday, March 9
1A semifinals at Burton Coliseum
(4) Arcadia 46, (1) North Central 38
(3) White Castle 86, (7) Northwood-Lena 70
Class B semifinals
(2) Simsboro 67, (3) Hathaway 61
(1) Anacoco 81, (5) J.S. Clark Leadership 56
Division I semifinals at Cajundome
(3) St. Augustine 75, (2) St. Paul’s 72
(1) Scotlandville 46, (5) Jesuit 43
Division III semifinals at Cajundome
(1) Newman 54, (4) Holy Savior Menard 45
(2) Dunham 45, (6) Lafayette Christian 28
Wednesday, March 10 at Cajundome
(1) Carver 75, (4) Neville 50
(2) McMain 50, (3) Woodlawn (SH) 48
Division II semifinals at Cajundome
(1) University High 58, (5) St. Michael 54
(2) St. Thomas More 71, (3) Liberty 51
2A semifinals at Burton Coliseum
(1) Rayville 76, (5) Franklin 67
(2) Port Allen 60, (6) Lakeview 48
5A semifinals at Burton Coliseum
(1) Natchitoches Central 58, (4) Hahnville 48
(3) Zachary 58, (15) Walker 44
Thursday, March 11 at Burton Coliseum
Noon—Division V title game—(1) Jehovah-Jireh 60, (2) Family Christian 57
2:30 p.m.—Division IV title game—(1) Crescent City Christian 59, (3) Calvary Baptist 49
5 p.m.—3A title game—(1) Madison Prep 52, (11) St. Martinville 47
7:30 p.m.—Class C title game—(1) Simpson 73, (6) Ebarb 65 (OT)
Friday, March 12 finals at Burton Coliseum
Noon—Division III title game—(2) Dunham 52, (1) Newman 48
2:30 p.m.—1A title game—(4) Arcadia 51, (3) White Castle 38
5 p.m.—2A title game—(2) Port Allen 59, (1) Rayville 45
7:30 p.m.—Class B title game—(2) Simsboro 56, (1) Anacoco 53
Saturday, March 13 at Burton Coliseum
Noon—4A title game—(2) McMain 49, (1) Carver 48
2:30 p.m.—Division II title game—(1) University High vs. (2) St. Thomas More
5 p.m.—Division I title game—(1) Scotlandville vs. (2) St. Augustine
7:30 p.m.—5A title game—(1) Natchitoches Central vs. (3) Zachary
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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…