Bears and Cardinals play in the LCM/IP Classic
Last updated 1/2/2023 at 4:08pm
Little Cypress Mauriceville High School hosted the fourth annual LCM/IP Classic on December 28-29. The basketball tournament included teams from east Texas high schools and a selected team of high school basketball players from Australia that is traveling in the United States during their summer holiday from school because below the equator it is summer there.
The Little Cypress Mauriceville Bears and the Bridge City Cardinals participated in the tournament. Like all the other teams the Bears and Cardinals played four games in the two days. Games were played at the Dr. Pauline Colburn Hargrove Gymnasium known as "The Grove" and at the old competition gym at the high school known for years as the Bear Cave because of the large mural on the gym's wall and now affectionately called "The Cave."
The Bears played their first game of the tournament in The Grove on Thursday afternoon against the Pollock Central Bulldogs. Pollock is located in Angelina County near Lufkin making the Bulldogs the second longest travelers to the tournament after the Australians.
LCM snapped a 2-2 tie with a basket by Ben Elliott to score the next 16 points and never trailed in the game. The Bears had three players score in double figures with Noah Fuller getting 16 points, Elliott totaling 12, and Da'Marion Morris tallying 10 points. Nine Bears scored at least two points in the 63-37 win.
Bridge City had a much tougher draw in its first game. The Cardinals played the Class 5A state ranked Barbers Hill Eagles at The Grove.
The larger Eagle squad used twelve players and everyone of them got on the scoresheet with at least two points. The Cardinals may have been outnumbered but they battled hard for the full game actually out scoring the Eagles in the fourth quarter 17-16 before losing 62-44.
Nine different Cardinals scored at least two points in the game. Walker Britten scored 11 and Aiden Gutierrez had 10 points.
Little Cypress Mauriceville and Barbers Hill closed out the first day's action at The Grove. The game was close early as the Bears took their first lead 7-6 on a three-pointer by Alantheon Winn.
The Eagles regained the lead before the end of the first quarter leading to an entertaining second period when there were 39 points put on the board by the two teams. Ben Elliott of the Bears ripped the nets for 13 points and Bryce Smith of the Eagles had 11 points including a three-pointer at the buzzer to give Barbers Hill a 33-28 lead at the half.
The third period was a repeat of the first with the Eagles outscoring the Bears by the same 13-9 margin to open up a nine-point lead. The fourth quarter was tighter but Barbers Hill maintained their advantage and won 61-50 over the Bears. Elliott was the Bears' high scorer in the game with 27 points five more than Smith.
Over at The Cave Bridge City played the Hardin-Jefferson Hawks in the day's finale there. The Cardinals lost the game 71-50 to the Hawks.
Day two of the tournament on Friday had Bridge City play the Anahuac Panthers in the morning at The Cave. Anahuac led 10-9 after the first quarter but the Cardinals put up 18 points in the second quarter including four three pointers by Walker Britten to go into halftime leading 27-21.
Jerris Brown scored four of his eight points in the game during the third quarter to spark the Cardinals. Bridge City won the game 50-45. The Cardinals did have a loss though as freshman Aaden Bush landed awkwardly trying for a rebound and fractured his ankle putting him out of action for several weeks.
The Cardinals got a big game from Britten who made six three-point baskets and finished with 20 points. Aiden Gutierrez forced the Panthers to foul him enough that he shot ten free throws sinking six of them and scoring 11 points.
Arguably the most entertaining game of the tournament was played at The Grove Friday afternoon between Little Cypress Mauriceville and the Southern Peninsula Sharks of Australia. The fans came to see the home town Bears battle the big boys from down under.
It was an exciting game with LCM down briefly 4-2 in the first quarter. Four straight baskets by Noah Fuller, Da'Marion Morris, Ben Elliott, and a three pointer by Alantheon Winn put the Bears on top 11-4.
LCM enjoyed a four point lead until a buzzer beater by the Australians cut it to one 14-13 at the end of one. The Sharks took the lead with the first basket of the second quarter only to have Winn drop another three that started a ten point run by the Bears that gave them a 24-15 advantage.
The second quarter ended like the first did with a last second three ball by the Sharks to trail 29-28 at the half. The game stayed close until the final minute of the third quarter when it was Morris of the Bears sinking the last shot of the quarter to put LCM up by four 47-43.
The hectic pace of the first three quarters may have had its effect on the players from the two teams. Only seventeen points were made in the final quarter as Little Cypress Mauriceville survived two three pointers in the final 37 seconds to win 54-53 over the Australians.
Elliott was the leading scorer in the game with 20 points and Morris had 11. The Sharks lived by the three sinking eight of them in the game.
The Bridge City Cardinals played their final game of the tournament against the Pollock Central Bulldogs in The Cave. Walker Britten's three pointer put the Cardinals ahead 3-2 but the Bulldogs scored seven of the next eight points to go ahead 9-4.
Britten hit another three and Jagger Carlin tied the game 9-9 with fifteen seconds left in the first quarter. A late three gave Pollock the lead after one quarter.
Both teams scored 14 points in the second quarter so the Bulldogs led 26-23 at the half.
The Bulldogs' margin changed to seven points 39-32 after the third period and ten points after an opening three point bucket to start the final quarter. The Cardinals staged a marvelous comeback. Lincoln Breaux scored seven of his 9 points in the game during the final eight minutes including a three-point play to tie the game with 1:20 left in regulation.
No scoring for the next 70 seconds and Breaux grabbed a critical rebound of a missed Pollock shot with under ten second to play. Coach Randall Robertson called time out to set up a last shot situation.
The ball was inbounded to Britten who dribbled into the forecourt before driving the right side of the lane and taking a shot. The field goal missed but Britten was fouled on the shot sending him to the free throw line to shoot two with five ticks left on the clock. Walker was on the money with both to give the Cardinals an exciting 50-48 triumph.
Britten finished with 20 points. Aiden Gutierrez had 8 points one behind Breaux who played an inspired fourth quarter.
Coach Robertson was excited about the Cardinals winning two close games on Friday. "It's obviously nice to win a couple of games and have some momentum flowing into district again this coming week. The game Tuesday with LCM will be a huge boost for us and set us up for the rest of district," Robertson indicated.
An intense contest was played Friday night at The Grove. LCM faced the Hardin-Jefferson Hawks for the third time this season the two teams splitting the first two meetings.
The Bears started like they were going to take the rubber game grabbing an 18-8 lead in the first quarter. Alantheon Winn nailed three threes and Ben Elliott hit a buzzer beater to boost the Bears' chances.
The Hawks strutted their stuff after that winning the next two quarters. Hardin-Jefferson took a one point lead 40-39 into the final period.
The contest was still in doubt at 53-50 with 1:11 to play in the fourth quarter when some confusion occurred concerning a foul being called on Hardin-Jefferson against Da'Marion Morris. A couple of the Bears thought a timeout had been called after the foul and came onto the court. The referee called a technical foul on the bench and when LCM Coach Brad Jeffcoat complained a little too much a second technical was called on him.
Morris made one free throw but the Hawks converted three of four of their free throws to take a five point lead. HJ extended the advantage to six points with another free throw following a foul after it got the ball because of the technicals.
A third technical was called later on the Bears resulting in a free throw and a field goal by the Hawks to give them their largest lead of the game 64-55. Elliott made the final basket to narrow the deficit to 64-57 as the game ended.
Only five Bears scored in the game but four of them were in double figures. Elliott led the Bears with 21 points, Winn tallied 13, Morris fouled after scoring 11, and Jayden Benton contributed 10 points.
Coach Jeffcoat was pleased with how the tournament transpired and the play of the Bears. "I thought it was really good. We played four really good teams, and I think we got better this week. It was a good tournament and I'm really happy with it. Whatever our record is now it is zero and zero starting this week with our first games in district. We've got to get ready, we've got to get some wins," Jeffcoat expressed.
District action began Tuesday at The Grove for the Bears against the Cardinals. Little Cypress Mauriceville plays at Vidor on Friday before returning home on Tuesday, January 10, to play the Lumberton Raiders. The Cardinals have a bye on Friday and play the Vidor Pirates on Tuesday, January 10 in Bridge City.