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Crescent City Christian avenges last season's playoff loss to Lincoln Prep with 62-55 win

Wossman to face Iowa for Division II non-select championship after semifinal wins
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LAKE CHARLES, LOUISIANA - Top-seeded Crescent City Christian has a bitter taste in their mouths last season from the Division IV select semifinals. 

Then, Lincoln Prep defeated the Pioneers, 62-56, in overtime.

Crescent City coach Brandon Russ remembers that moment and said these words after that game, “We’ll be back.” The Pioneers returned to the Burton Complex and got redemption against No. 5 seeded Lincoln Prep, 62-55, on Wednesday afternoon.

This game was hard fought and intense throughout. In the fourth quarter, Devin Guitroz scored a driving layup, giving Crescent City a 45-40 lead. Lincoln Prep didn’t go away that easy.

A’Marjae Young and Joesph Spann III scored a pair of layups, cutting the Pioneers' lead to three, 47-44. The Pioneers started to separate with a pair of layups by Jovanni Perez and Kenneth Malarchar, extending the lead to 54-46.

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Then, they came up big, making 6-for-8 on the free throw line to put the game away. Overall, the Pioneers shot 70 percent (24-for-34) from the free-throw line.

The game had a defensive feel from the start of the game. Dwight Magee got things going with a pair of baskets, giving Crescent City an early 16-13 lead. Guitroz stepped up again with a 3-pointer and a driving layup, extending the lead to 11, 33-22.

Lincoln Prep bounced back with a 3-pointer at the buzzer by Stephen Burks, cutting the Crescent City lead to 33-24 at the half.

Crescent City Christian (in white) avenged last season's playoff loss to Lincoln Prep with a 62-55 win in the Division IV select semifinals March 6, 2024.

Crescent City Christian (in white) avenged last season's playoff loss to Lincoln Prep with a 62-55 win in the Division IV select semifinals March 6, 2024.

“We had to stay focused the entire game. In the last four minutes and they were down three points, we was kind of nervous. We had to get right to win the game,” said Magee.

The Panthers had a good start to the second half, scoring the first five points, including a 3 by Spann, cutting the Pioneer lead to four, 33-29. The Pioneers answered with a pair of 3's by Magee, extending the lead to 42-33.

Lincoln Prep ended the third quarter with a quick 6-0 run. Burks knocked down a jumper and a driving layup, cutting the Pioneer lead to three, 42-39.

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“That’s basketball and it’s about possessions. They won more possessions when it mattered at the end.” said Lincoln Prep coach Antonio Hudson. “It’s a constant fight all year. We started out slow but we continued to chip away.

"That’s the guys I have and I’m with them every day. I know what they are capable of doing and I expect nothing less.”

Crescent City had three players scoring in double figures. Magee led the Pioneers with 25 points, eight steals, four rebounds and two assists. Perez finished with 12 points, six assists, four rebounds and two steals. Malarchar scored 10 points, while adding seven rebounds and two blocks.

“Sigh of relief. I knew this game was going to be tough; Coach Hudson coaches his teams tough. Our guys came ready to play,” said Russ. “We knew they would try to take the ball from Dwight. I got more elite guards that can handle the basketball, handle the pressure and make plays.

"This year, we played a real tough schedule for a reason. I did that for occasions like this where my guys can play in the face of adversity. When we knew that we was going to play them again, it’s time to have our get-back."

Russ added the Pioneers were more than eager to get that shot at redemption against Lincoln Prep.

"We was ready for it this time," he said. "The loss last year left a sour taste in our mouth. I felt that we didn’t finish the job. I felt that when we return that we will finish the job.”

Lincoln Prep had three players scoring in double figures. Burks led the Panthers with 18 points, 10 rebounds and five assists. Devin Burton finished with 12 points and 11 rebounds.

Spann scored 11 points, three rebounds, and two steals.

Crescent City advances to the Division IV select title game. The Pioneers will play the winner of No. 6 Hamilton Christian vs No. 2 St. Martin's this Saturday at 2 p.m. at The Burton Complex.

Division II non-select semifinal

Wossman 61, Carroll 52

In the Division II non-select state semifinals, No. 2 seed Wossman (33-4) pulled away in the fourth quarter for a victory over third-seeded Carroll.

The Tigers had four players scoring in double figures. Zion Weeks led the Wildcats with 15 points. Jordan Comanche finished with 14 points, three rebounds, and two steals.

Also for Wossman, Krystian Lewis scored 12 points, while getting nine rebounds and two assists. Antron Mason Jr. scored 11 points, four assists and four steals.

Carroll (27-9) had two players scoring in double figures. Jaden Williams led the Bulldogs with 17 points and four rebounds. Lavion Owens finished with 14 points, 12 rebounds, four assists and two steals.

Division II non-select semifinal

Iowa 55, Brusly 51

In the other half of the Division II non-select state semifinals, top-seeded Iowa (29-4) made some huge plays late in the game to get a 55-51 victory over No. 4 seed Brusly.

With minutes left in the game, Brusly’s Chad Loupe knocked down a 3-pointer, giving the Panthers a 49-45 lead.

Iowa's Deshawn Ceasar then scored four points over the next 54 seconds to tie the score at 49-all. 

Two free throws for Brusly (28-2) put the Panthers up two as the game entered the final minute, but once again Iowa responded, tying the ball game up at 51 with 20 seconds remaining.

With 13.5 seconds remaining, Iowa's Desamonte Gradney was fouled, sending him to the free-throw line for two shots, and he made both, putting the Jackets up 53-51.

Brusly inbounded the ball, but after stepping out of bounds, the ball went back to Iowa, which was quickly fouled. The Yellow Jackets then sealed the win with a pair of foul shots despite trailing throughout much of the game.

Iowa had two players scoring in double figures. Gradney led the Yellow Jackets with 17 points and six rebounds. Ceasar finished with 16 points, six steals, and four rebounds.

Edrick Snearl led Brusly with 24 points and 12 rebounds.

Iowa will take on Wossman in the Division II non-select championship game at 8 p.m. at the Burton Complex. 

-- Vashon Jones | @SBLiveLA