Hawks fly late to end solid LC-M season

Published 9:32 pm Friday, February 23, 2018

PORT NECHES — Battling Hardin-Jefferson tooth-and-nail, the Little Cypress-Mauriceville Bears couldn’t overcome a late Hawks’ run as the Hawks came away with a 50-42 Class 4A Region III area round playoff victory at Port Neches-Groves High School Friday night.

Each time the Hawks (31-9) built what looked to be a solid lead, the Bears (23-13) clawed their way back, only to see H-J pull away at the end.

The Hawks only led 41-39 with 2:34 remaining after LC-M’s Braden Bridges hit a short jumper.

However, H-J went on a 7-0 run, sparked by guard Darius Johnson, who had all seven of his points in the final period, and eventually pulled away.

H-J will now take on Class 4A state power Houston Yates in the regional quarterfinals early next week.

The Hawks’ victory offset a superb final performance in a Bear uniform by senior Katon Brown.

Brown finished with a game-high 20 points and a game-high 11 rebounds and tried his best to keep the Bears within striking distance in the last 16 minutes as he scored 12 of his points in the second half.

Burly big man Jason Persohn bruised his way inside several times throughout the battle and he led the Hawks with 14 points and eight rebounds. He scored 10 of his points in the first half.

Demetrius Johnson had 13 points and six boards for the Hawks.

Cole Frost had nine points for the Bears as he drained three three-pointers on the night, including two big ones back-to-back that got the Bears back in it in the third quarter. Christian Waetherly had four points and four rebounds for LC-M. Bridges, who missed quite a bit of time in the second half due to receiving a blow to the head, had four points while Tristan Rhodes added four rebounds.

Jalen Sneed added four points and four boards for the Hawks.

H-J led 12-8 at the end of the first period as Persohn, Demetrius Johnson and Bruce Green each had four points for H-J while Brown had four points for the Bears.

The Hawks took a 21-17 cushion into the half after Persohn tallied six points in the second quarter.

H-J scored the first five points of the third quarter to go up 26-17 thanks to big three-pointers by both Jaystan Davis and Sarge Upchurch.

The Bears countered nicely though as they zipped off to a 9-0 spurt to tie it as Frost led the comeback with back-to-back three-point bombs.

H-J was able to build another nice lead, going up 35-28 in the third, but Brown muscled his way inside for eight points in the period and a big rebound and putback got the Bears to within 35-33 at the end of the quarter.

The Hawks finished with a 27-25 rebounding edge. The Bears finished with 14 turnovers while the Hawks had just 11. H-J was 12-of-18 from the free-throw line while LC-M was 4-for-7.