The Evangel Eagles stormed back from a big fourth-quarter deficit, but came up a little short, allowing North Caddo to escape with a 58-55 victory Friday night in the semifinals of the inaugural Southwood basketball tournament.
The Rebels were in charge for just over three-quarters of the contest, leading by 17 entering the final frame. But pressure from the Eagles forced a multitude of turnovers, combined with some hot outside shooting from Malik Cooper and Izavier West, and the Eagles were back in business.
When West hit a 3-pointer with 26 seconds remaining, Evangel as within 56-55. But Cherrod Hill scored underneath on the other end for the Rebels (11-4), and Jacob Jennings’ off-balance shot at the buzzer fell well short.
That left North Caddo coach Ron Meikle relieved to see his team in the finals of a tournament for the first time this season.
“We’re still trying to find our way, but it’s great to have Cherrod back in the lineup, because you can see how much of a difference he makes,” Meikle said. “Our problem is finding minutes for our guys, because we have at least 10 to 11 guys who can play. When we all play together, we can be pretty good.”
The championship game is slated for 4:30 p.m. Saturday at Southwood. The consolation game is at 1 p.m. and the third place game at 2:45 p.m.
Evangel coach Kyle Tucker was glad his team didn’t give up after Evangel led 30-15 at halftime and continued to control the contest through the third quarter.
“We started the game very slow and frankly not ready to give the effort required for the entire 32 minutes to beat a team of their caliber,” Tucker said. “Once we made a few adjustments and decided to give our best effort we were able to cut the lead down and gave ourselves a chance to win it at the end.”
Chris Thomas led a balanced North Caddo scoring attack with 13 points, while Hill and Robert Brooks chipped in with 12 apiece. Evangel got 16 points from Cooper and another 15 from West.
“I’m proud of our team’s effort in the second half and really look forward to what they can accomplish once they become more consistent with their effort,” Tucker said.
Evangel 63 Red River 59: At the Minden Holiday Classic, Tiara Young poured in 29 points and pulled down 13 rebounds, while Breonna Frierson added 22 points and 13 boards for the Lady Eagles. The Lady Bulldogs got 14 apiece from Makayla Hallmon and Morgyne Payne, along with 13 from Oksanna Williams. Evangel will play in the finals at 6:40 p.m. Saturday.
Bossier 35, Southwood 32: Destiny Thomas scored 13 points and Brianna West 10 to top the Lady Bearkats. Ah’million Cosby scored 11 points but it wasn’t enough for the Lady Cowboys, who fell to 10-7 on the season.
Captain Shreve 80, Stanley 51: The Lady Gators were led by Dezyre Black (21 points), Kennedi Heard (16), Kay Armstrong (13) and Victoria Hart (12).