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Isidore Newman makes it a 'three-peat' with latest Division III select championship

Greenies turn the heat up in the fourth quarter to defeat University Lab

LAKE CHARLES, LOUISIANA - Top-seeded and two-time defending state champios Isidore Newman got an opportunity to make school and state history. 

University Lab was looking to dethrone the champs and make a return to prominence. Both teams was in an absolute war throughout the game, but Newman caught fire in the fourth quarter to win the Division III select state championship for the third straight year with a 59-46 win Friday afternoon at The Burton Complex.

This is Isidore Newman’s second three-peat in boys basketball in school history, and this is the school’s ninth state title. Newman coach Randy Livingston Sr. becomes the only player and coach in LHSAA history to three-peat as a player and a coach.

“It's a blessing," Livingston said. "The third championship is hard and it's hard because the expectations are there, the distractions are there, you get brand new characters and you gotta mold them into champions and it takes time.

"Everybody wants us to be a top 20 team in the nation at the beginning of the year, and I knew it was going to take time because we had never played together and we only have one player with experience. ... So if some growing pains it was some tough times, and the third one is the hardest because you can get bored with the process you can be like or you can follow the track and we're gonna win."

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The Cubs (24-8) gave everything they had to win this game. In the third quarter, Ethan Kimmie knocked down a jumper. Then Trushaad Bush knocked down a pair of 3-pointers, giving University a 42-39 lead.

Then Newman (20-3) came alive with an 18-0 run. Chris Cenac scored a pair of layups; then Todd Jones stepped in with a pair of driving layups.

Cenac put the game away with a pair of explosive dunks, giving the Greenies a commanding 57-42 lead.

“Staying together in the last 12 to 13 games being all in, listening what coach says and being locked in made us earn it,” said Cenac, who was named the game's Most Outstanding Player. “We came so far not to finish here.”

Isidore Newman player Chris Cenac was named the Most Outstanding Player following the Greenies' Division III select title win March 8, 2024.

Isidore Newman player Chris Cenac was named the Most Outstanding Player following the Greenies' Division III select title win March 8, 2024.

Kimmie and Cenac went at it in the beginning of the game, exchanging driving layups.

Bush scored a driving layup, giving University an early 10-9 lead. Newman bounced back with a 3-pointer by Payton Foster, getting a 12-10 lead.

The Cubs answered with a pair of 3's by Bush and William Papania to go back in front, 16-12.

“It was a hard fought game. We outscored them for two of the quarters. We ran into a drought in the fourth quarter and ran out of gas,” said University Lab coach Joe Spencer. “I was really proud of the way our guys competed.

"We were right there going to the fourth quarter. We played a great schedule and it prepared them for this game.”

Newman came out with a 7-2 run to start the second quarter. Randy Livingston Jr. and Chris Birden each had a pair of layups, giving the Greenies a 24-18 lead. The Greenies eventually built a 32-28 lead at the half.

Newman had three players scoring in double figures. Cenac was the Most Outstanding Player with 19 points, eight rebounds, four assists, three blocks and two steals.

Livingston finished with 14 points and nine assists. Jones scored 10 points, six rebounds and three blocks. 

“It’s great to just three-peat; not a lot of people do that. With (Randy Livingston Sr.'s) name and what he has done as a player and a coach is very special. For him to three-peat as a player and a coach is really special for us and Newman as a school,” said Jones.

University had two players scoring in double figures. Bush led the Cubs with 21 points, two assists, and two steals. Kimmie finished with 11 points, five rebounds, and two blocks.

"I wanted to win 10 and that's what I do. I want to set the board high. I want these guys to understand that it's a lot hard work that goes into it," Randy Livingston Sr. said. "I wouldn’t take this year back for anything.

"This third championship is special. I don't know if it's been done, but I'll cherish it.”

-- Vashon Jones | @SBLiveLA