Sophie B. Wright takes home Sunkist Shootout title on busy final day
In South Louisiana in 2005, Hurricane Katrina hit and devastated the City Of New Orleans. Since then many high schools in the New Orleans area have closed, others have started up and a few have moved up from lower levels. Sophie B. Wright, once a junior high, is now thriving as a full fledged high school in Uptown New Orleans.
In recent years, Wright has emerged as a basketball power, even hosting their own tournament in the past few years. On Saturday in Lafayette, the Warriors made another statement on the hardwood, defeating the defending Class 4A state champion Carencro, 69-55, to take the 2018 Sunkist Shootout Championship.
At the end of the first quarter, the Warriors went on a 14-3 run to take a 22-11 lead and held a 36-26 advantage at the half. The third quarter saw both teams continue to match each other with Wright taking a 50-40 advantage to the final period.
The Warriors continued to play well and had a 60-44 lead with 3:20 to play in the game and the Warriors cleared the bench and held off a Carencro rally to take the game and the Sunkist 69-55 .
Sophie B. Wright was led by Sunkist MVP Damiree Burns with 21 points, 17 rebounds, and 9-11 in Field Goal Attempts, Greg Hammond with 14 points, and Dandrick Green with 10 points.
Joseph Charles paced Carencro with 19 points while Julian Landor managed a double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds.
The third place game at the Sunkist Shootout featured two old friends in coaching as the host St. Thomas More Cougars took on the Riverside Academy Rebels. Danny Broussard for St. Thomas More and Timmy Byrd for Riverside have coached the pair of perennial contenders and these two teams are usually deep in the playoffs.
This time around, St. Thomas More defeated Riverside, 66-47.
Up 24-20 at halftime, the host Cougars puled away late in the third quarter to lead 44-32 after three quarters of play.
St. Thomas More started the fourth quarter on a 14-6 run to ice the game.
Jaden Shelvin led STM in scoring with 15 points. Caleb Holstien and Carter Domingue finished with 13 points each.
Riverside was led by Gage Larvadain and Isaiah Bigham, each with 13 points.
The Sunkist fifth place game featured two recent state champions. Country Day, who won Division III in 2017, faced the reigning Class 5A champion Walker Wildcats. In a tight finish, Walker pulled out a 69-65 win.
Walker led after three quarters of play, 58-51, but the Cajuns under veteran coach Mike McGuire took the lead in the fourth quarter. With 1:40 to go, the Wildcats tied the game at 62-62 on a Brian Thomas basket. It was Thomas who led the charge throughout, finishing with 34 points on 13-of-17 shooting and making keys buckets late.
Thomas had plenty of help from Jalen Cook, who tallied 29 points. The two-headed Walker monster was just good enough to edge Country Day.
Country Day was led by Christian Becnel with 20 points. Justin Ibieta tallied 18 points and 11 rebounds. Kaleb Jenkins added 15 points for the Cajuns.
2018 Sunkist Shootout All-Tournament Team
Sophie B. Wright-Damiree Burns (MVP)
Sophie B. Wright-Charlie Russell
Country Day-Justin Ibieta
Carencro Julien Landor
Carencro Joseph Charles
St. Thomas More-Jaden Shelvin
St. Thomas More-Carter Domingue
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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…