Basketball Drops Game to McKinley, Ends Season in Quarterfinals
On Friday night the Jesuit basketball team concluded the 2017-2018 season with a road loss against McKinley High School of Baton Rouge. The game was the first playoff quarterfinal birth since the 2010 basketball team made it all the way to the semifinal round in the Cajun Dome in Lafayette.
Fighting to stay in the game from the beginning, the Jays sought to overcome two primary obstacles in the match-up. First, Jesuit shot just 33% from the field, making just six of 22 3-point attempts. Secondly, the Blue Jays struggled to contain Tyrese Radford, McKinley’s standout guard, who scored 35 points in the game.
Jesuit was able to keep the match-up competitive by repeated getting to the foul line. As long range shots could not quite find the mark, players took strong drives to the baskets and were effective in drawing contact on the way to the rim. Scoring 21 of their 55 points in free throws at a clip of 81% proved vital in bolstering the offensive attack.
But even with a impressive free-throw shooting, McKinley was able to outpace the Jays 63-55, making 25 free-throws of their own, many of which came in pivotal moments.
McKinley led a high-energy attack from the beginning, finishing the 1st Quarter with a 16-9 lead. Junior Elijah Morgan put the first 5 Blue Jay points on the board within the first 1:30. From there it was all McKinley. A couple of buckets around the basket from seniors Will Landrieu and Drew Black rounded out the 1st Quarter scoring.
In the 2nd quarter, Jesuit narrowed the gap. Although the shots from behind the arc were not falling, the Jays’ free throw shoots were. The Jays had battled their way to within two points by the end of the quarter, when Will Landrieu hit a 3-pointer just before the buzzer to give the Jays a 1 point advantage at halftime.
Jesuit maintained its advantage at the beginning of the 3rd Quarter, leading 36-33 with 3:30 to play. McKinley mounted a six-point swing that put them in the driver’s seat for the rest of the game. In the 4th Quarter, Jesuit’s deficit alternated between six and nine points in the last few minutes, with McKinley maintaining their poise from the foul line throughout.
Elijah Morgan ended the game with 24 points, and Will Landrieu added 10. Although the road to Lake Charles was cut short in the quarterfinals, the basketball team has much to be proud of from the season. With a 23-8 record (9-3 in district), the team brought a winning spirit to every game and competed at an incredibly high level.