CENTRAL -- The first point of the third quarter Tuesday between Denham Springs High and Central wasn’t scored until 4:29 showed on the clock.
That was more than enough time for the Yellow Jackets to do some damage.
DSHS took advantage of poor shooting by the Wildcats in the quarter to key a 61-36 win in District 4-5A play.
“I thought that our defensive effort was a little better than it has been the previous two nights, and that led us to finally get going there in the third quarter,” DSHS coach Kevin Caballero said after his team outscored the Wildcats 18-8 in the third quarter.
“I told the guys if they just keep working hard, it’s not going to be pretty and you’re not going to score on every possession, but if you make a mistake and you make it full speed, we can live with that. Play the next possession.”
For Central coach Brian Hargroder, the Yellow Jackets’ run was a familiar refrain.
“The snowball got rolling downhill,” he said. "Denham made a few shots. We couldn’t put the ball in the goal and that’s kind of been the story of the season.
“We’re a team that has trouble scoring and when other teams are hitting shots, it makes it really difficult for us.”
The start of the third quarter was a scoreless turnover-fest until Denham’s Micah Banks hit a free throw with 4:29 to play, keying a 9-0 burst in which Banks and Christian Knox scored all of the points. Knox had a pair of 3-pointers and scored all 8 of his points in the third quarter, while Banks scored 6 of his team-high 12 points during the same stretch.
“Three-pointers, that’s my overall game,” Knox said. “That’s all I’m really looking for. If they’re up on me, I’ll take a drive every once in a while to get them off of me just to create some separation, but 3-pointers are my main specialty.”
The Wildcats continued to struggle offensively, missing a number of outside shots, and that enabled the Yellow Jackets to pull down rebounds and convert them into points.
Central got its first point of the third quarter on Hunter Arnold’s free throw with 2:23 left to make the score 36-18. The Wildcats’ Destin Franklin connected on a 3-pointer, while Jalyn Murphy had a pair of baskets as the team traded scores to end the quarter.
Denham (22-8, 3-2 District 4-5A) led 45-25 going into the final period and closed with a 16-11 run.
Central (11-14, 0-5) led 14-13 early in the second quarter before Dorsett Washington got a putback to key a 9-0 run that ended on Jay Henderson's 3-pointer and put the Yellow Jackets up 22-14.
The burst was fueled by Central turnovers and missed shots that Denham turned into defensive rebounds.
“They were spacing us out and getting us one-on-one basically and just taking us to the goal and dishing it off to the bigger men and scoring,” Central’s Quint Guerin said. “They’re just big.”
Central’s Trey Johnson and Denham's Julian White traded 3-pointers before DSHS went into halftime leading 27-17.
“They play that matchup zone, and they do a really good job of it, and what it entices you to do is to shoot jump shots, and we were trying to tell the kids to be patient, reverse the ball, make them guard us a little bit in that zone, and I thought we kind of settled down in the second quarter and we did that, and we got some pretty high-percentage shots,” Caballero said.
The first quarter ended in a 13-13 tie after the Wildcats led 13-8 on Guerin’s 3-pointer, but the Yellow Jackets closed with a 4-0 burst.
“We were just moving the ball as a team, playing together, working together on defense getting turnovers and just being a team in the first quarter,” said Guerin, who had all of his team-high 10 points in the first quarter.
DSHS closes out the regular season against 4-5A champion Scotlandville at 7 p.m. Friday in the Hornets' gym.
“We’re taking them one at a time, but our goal is to have a home game (in the playoffs),” Caballero said. “I don’t know if this is enough or not, but I was really proud after we lost two in a row for the first time this season the way our guys came back on the road and played here at Central.”
DSHS 61, CENTRAL 36
DSHS 13 14 18 16 -- 61
Central 13 4 8 11 -- 36
DSHS (61) – Jay Henderson 1 4-6 7, Ray Whitley 0 1-3 1, Micah Banks 4 4-5 12, Dorsett Washington 5 0-2 10, Bryan Harvey 2 0-0 4, Xavier Miles 2 4-4 8, C.J. Johnson 1 0-0 2, Doug Landry 0 2-2 2, Julian White 2 0-0 6, Kaleb Drummer 0 1-2 1, Christian Knox 3 0-0 8, Kaydon Berard 0 0-0 0. Totals 20 16-24 61.
Central (33) – Trey Johnson 3 0-0 8, Quint Guerin 4 1-1 10, Todd Lasseigne 0 0-0 0, Hunter Arnold 1 1-4 4, Landon Thames 1 0-0 3, Jalyn Murphy 3 2-3 8, Braxston Lee 0-0 0, Destin Franklin 1 0-0 3. Totals 13 4-8 36.
3-point goals – DSHS 5 (White 2, Knox 2, Henderson 1); Central 6 (Johnson 2, Franklin 1, Guerin 1, Thames 1, Arnold 1). Total fouls – DSHS 9, Central 21. Technical foul – Franklin. Records: DSHS 22-8, 3-2 District 4-5A; Central 11-14, 0-5. Up next: DSHS at Scotlandville, 7 p.m. Friday, Central at Walker, 7 p.m. Friday.