Division II select quarterfinal: Madison Prep’s late surge clinches a trip to Lake Charles

Division II select quarterfinal: Madison Prep's late surge clinches a trip to Lake Charles
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Eighth-seeded Archbishop Hannan trailed top-seeded Madison Prep by three at halftime and by a basket midway through the third quarter.

That’s when the homestanding Chargers put their foot down, gaining some separation near the end of the third and blowing it open midway through the fourth for a 66-57 victory Friday over the Hawks in a Division II state select quarterfinal playoff.

“We kind of picked it up and it kind of boiled down to these seniors not wanting their season to end,” MPA coach Jeff Jones said. “They understand it’s not about being close. It’s about finishing. I’m proud of the way they played.”

The mission for Madison Prep (25-2) — winner of six straight — is crystal-clear after last year’s state runner-up finish. The Chargers are returning to the LHSAA boys state tournament for the 13th consecutive year to face Archbishop Shaw in next week’s semifinal in Lake Charles.

Three of Madison Prep’s seniors led the way with Jayce Depron scoring 16, Josh Smith 12 and Donnie Haney 10. Depron and Haney each made a pair of 3-pointers. Chris Lindo, who has nursed a groin injury, came off the bench to score 11 points.

“I thought turnovers and rebounding would be keys in this game,” Hannan coach Errol Gauff said. “With their size, we had to make sure and do a good job of blocking out. They hurt us some on second-chance points, but the turnovers (11) hurt a little bit. I’m very proud of our young men.”

Hannan (16-8), a state champion in 2022 and quarterfinalist a year ago, trimmed Madison Prep’s lead to 34-32 on a basket from Drew Timmons, a 6-foot-6 junior who had a game-high 22 points.

The Chargers responded with an 11-2 run with five different players contributing over a 3½-minute span of the third quarter for a 45-34 lead with 25 seconds left, forcing Gauff to call a timeout. Jamari Thigpen completed a three-point play after an offensive rebound, and Smith converted a steal into his third slam dunk of the game.

Madison Prep, which shot 57.4% (27 of 47), made its first four shots of the fourth quarter, sparked by Haney’s 3-pointer from the corner. Smith completed a three-point play after an inbounds pass to make it 53-40, and the Chargers stretched their lead to 59-42 with 4:39 to play when Lindo scored inside, Haney made a pair of free throws and Dabney added a putback.

“I like the way they executed defensively down the stretch, getting stops,” Jones said. “We knew it would be hard to stop Timmons, but we wanted to make it really tough on the other guys and I think they did a great job of that. It’s going to take that level of focus and execution to win in Lake Charles.”

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