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Crescent City Christian boys get past district rival for Division IV select title

Four Pioneers reach double figures in 71-59 win against St. Martin's

LAKE CHARLES, LOUISIANA - Top-seeded Crescent City Christian and No. 2 seed St. Martin’s returned to Marsh Madness on a mission to win a state title. 

The payoff would happen for one of these teams, as the District 10-1A rivals met again for the Division IV select state title. Both teams went at it throughout the game, but the Pioneers pulled away in the fourth quarter, winning the championship, 71-59.

This is Crescent City’s fourth state title in school history, and the first for Brandon Russ as a head coach. He was an assistant coach under previous Crescent City coach Shawn Dumas, who won three state titles.

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“We knew this was going to be a tough one against our district rivals. (St. Martin's coach Mike) Odom does a great job with the program,” said Russ. “They jumped on us early. I told them to slow down and regain our composure.

"It’s a game of runs. When we make our runs, we keep our runs. ... In my second year (as coach), we made a run to the semifinals and lost in overtime. That left a bad taste in our mouths, and it made us work hard in the offseason to make it back and finish the job.”

St. Martin’s had a great start to the game. Matthew Weaver and Harlem Berry knocked down a pair of 3-pointers to give the Saints an early 8-0 lead.

Crescent City bounced back with an 8-0 run of its own. Jovanni Perez scored a driving layup and three-point play. Then Cam’Ron James knocked down a 3, tying it at 8-all.

Berry continued to step up with a driving layup and a 3, giving St. Martin’s a 15-12 lead.

Crescent City got things going in the second quarter with an 11-0 run. Isiah Stevens and Frederick Green had baskets, and Devin Guitroz knocked down a 3, giving the Pioneers a 26-19 lead. 

St. Martin’s bounced back with 3's by Ashton Oliver and Cooper Odom, cutting the lead to four, 29-25. Then Guitroz scored a driving layup for the Pioneers, extending the lead to 31-25 at the half.

The Saints stayed within reach as Weaver scored a layup and a three-point play, cutting the Pioneer lead to seven, 36-29.

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Then, Crescent City's Dwight Magee started to come alive in the second half after being held to five points and three fouls in the first half. He knocked down a jumper and a 3, giving the Pioneers a 41-29 lead.

St. Martin’s kept fighting as Patrick LaForge knocked down a 3 to get within eight, 52-44. Crescent City put the game out of reach as Guitroz knocked down another trey; then Magee scored an 18-foot jumper to give the Pioneers a commanding 57-46 lead.

“Crescent City has played a tougher schedule as we have. They're battle-tested and we’re battle-tested. These guys are champions in my book and I’ll go to war with them any day,” said St. Martin’s coach Mike Odom. “Crescent City has really good guards and a very tough team. It’s a challenge to guard them.

"We’re hard to guard, too, but we were on the short end of the stick (Saturday)."

Crescent City had four players scoring in double figures. Magee was the Most Outstanding Player with 25 points, 11 rebounds, two assists, two steals and two blocks. Perez finished with 13 points, five rebounds and four assists.

Crescent City Christian's Dwight Magee was named the Most Outstanding Player in the Pioneers' Division IV select state title game win March 9, 2024.

Crescent City Christian's Dwight Magee was named the Most Outstanding Player in the Pioneers' Division IV select state title game win March 9, 2024.

Also for the Pioneers, Stevens scored 13 points and Guitroz had 12 points, three assists and two rebounds.

St. Martin’s had three players scoring in double figures. Weaver led the Saints with 21 points, 12 rebounds, three assists and two blocks. LaForge finished with 15 points and 13 rebounds, with Berry adding 10 points and eight rebounds.

-- Vashon Jones | @SBLiveLA