MONROE — A person can count on few constants in this crazy world we inhabit.
The sun will always come up in the morning. Change is unavoidable. And it’s never wise to attempt a fast one on the Internal Revenue Service.
Oh, and the Ouachita Lions will win the Don Redden Memorial Classic.
Behind 15 points from Jay Head, Ouachita handed Woodlawn-Shreveport just its third loss of the year in a 63-57 win to claim their home tournament championship.
The Lions (19-4) have now won the Don Redden for the 12th time in 16 years.
“It was hard winning this tournament this year,” Ouachita coach Jeremy Madison said. “I knew I had some big shoes to fill when I got this job from my mentor (former Ouachita coach Casey Jones) and it’s my job to keep this tradition going.
“What I’m really proud of is how we handled adversity when Woodlawn made a little run. We stayed composed and came away with a victory.”
Head’s timely layup gave Ouachita a four-point lead with 54 seconds to go. The senior forward come through with a block on the other end of the floor that allowed senior guard Rod Hall to ice the game at the free-throw line.
Hall joined Head in double figures with 13 points while senior D.J. Williams finished with nine points.
Head was named the tournament MVP and joined Ouachita legends Jay Jackson and Johnny Hodge as the only two-time MVPs of the Don Redden Classic.
“First of all I want to thank God for putting myself and my team in this situation,” Head said. “To be in a category with those two guys is a special thing. I’ve heard a lot about them and I’m honored to have my name next to them.”
Senior guard Telvin Thomas led Woodlawn with 13 points. Sophomore guard Tramichael Moton added 12 points for the Knights (17-3).
“A few calls here and there went the other way but that’s the game of basketball,” Woodlawn coach Kenny Sykes. Basketball is all about runs and our kids didn’t give up and fought till the end. This was a good test for us going to district play.”
Moton cut Ouachita’s lead to five points with just over two minutes to play. Senior forward Devante Brooks followed with a layup on the ensuing possession and had the Knights within three going down the stretch.
Junior guard Kenderius Wallace started the third quarter with four quick points, but the outside shooting of Thomas kept Woodlawn within two possessions.
Williams’ 3-pointer on Ouachita’s final possession of the third quarter gave his team a 10-point lead at the horn.
Ouachita and Woodlawn stayed within one possession of each other until Williams was to put some distance between the two midway through the second quarter with back-to-back 3’s.
Woodlawn began eating away at a 10-point Lions lead with under three minutes to go in the second quarter. A pair of 3’s from Thomas and junior guard Larry Moton Jr. tied the game at 23 with 23 seconds until the break.
Senior guard Zavion Hart broke the tie by returning fire with his own 3-pointer to send Ouachita to the locker room with a 26-23 lead. Hart’s shot from behind the arc was the only field goal for the Lions in the last 2:26 of the half.
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2017 Don Redden Memorial Classic All-Tournament Team
G Rod Hall, Ouachita
G Tramichael Moore, Woodlawn (Shreveport)
G Telvin Thomas, Woodlawn (Shreveport)
G Mylik Wilson, Rayville
G D.J. Williams, Ouachita
F Larry Owens, Carroll
F Dennis Collins, West Monroe
F Garrett Guirlando, West Ouachita
Tournament MVP: F Jay Head, Ouachita