Playing a solid zone defense and watching a player settle into a zone while making shot after shot are different basketball art forms.
Madison Prep used both to beat previously unbeaten Carver 62-45 in the final game of the Madison Prep Roundup on Saturday night.
Deziel Perkins scored 17 of his game-high 29 points in the third quarter to help the Chargers (10-2) erase a two-point halftime deficit on their home court.
“Coming into the game, I knew we had to do what ever we had to in order to get the job done,” Perkins said. “By knocking down shots, I was doing my job.”
Percy Daniels and Jalen Williams each had 10 points for MPA in the final game of the fourth-game event. Dorion Finister led Carver (15-1) with 13 points. Carver standout Solomon Washington was limited to nine points.
“These are teachable moments,” Carver coach Nathaniel Roche said. “We have a lot of young kids, and we have been blessed to play tremendously this year.
“Moments like this are going to prepare us to be victorious when it matters. Madison Prep was aggressive, they controlled the boards and the tempo. This will make us better.”
Carver has been one of Louisiana’s most talked about teams, thanks to a high-flying transition style. Unable to solve Madison Prep’s zone and without an answer for guard Perkins, Carver watched the Chargers take control.
There was familiarity for both teams. Carver beat MPA 60-55 in a game played in New Orleans last month. Ironically, early foul trouble was a catalyst that led the Chargers to switch to a zone defense in the first half. The move protected the Chargers from added foul trouble and it stymied the Rams by keeping them from netting transition baskets with the 6-foot-7 Washington and others.
“They jumped into a zone and we were taking some bad shots in the first half,” MPA coach Jeff Jones said. “We also had some guys in foul trouble and when they jumped to a 2-3 zone, I decided let’s play a zone too.
“A zone can make it tougher. They were not shooting the ball extremely well, and we just stayed with it.”
Washington opened the scoring with a driving layup. But Madison Prep scored 10 of the next 12 points. A layup by Daniels put the Chargers ahead 10-5 midway through the quarter.
The Rams cut it to two. But a 3-pointer by Perkins just before the buzzer gave the Chargers a 14-9 lead.
Carver opened the second quarter with a 7-2 run and took a 17-16 lead on a 3-pointer by Finister. The Rams built a six-point lead.
However, Carver did not score in the final two minutes. MPA seized the opening and got within two, at 25-23, on a bucket by Williams with 21.9 seconds remaining.
A 2½ minute drought at the start of the third quarter did not help Carver either. Perkins opened the third period with a three-point play and then made four 3-pointers in the quarter from various spots — including the right baseline and both wings.
The Chargers continued to build on their lead and held the ball for more than a minute at one point late in the fourth quarter. MPA’s 6-9 Daniels added a dunk with 1:20 left.