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Basketball: Falling short – Universal holds off Slidell’s comeback bid

By Richard Greene | Published Saturday, March 3, 2018
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Deja Vu

DEJA VU – Slidell’s Layton Shelton looks to drive against Irving Universal. Shelton scored 19 points as the Greyhounds lost in the regional quarterfinal for the second straight year. Messenger photo by Kelly Basting

Falling behind 49-41 inside the final two minutes, the Slidell Greyhounds’ season appeared to be slipping away.

Then, starting with a transition layup by Hunter Horner, the Greyhounds fought all the way back to take the lead with a pair of free throws from Slayton Pruett with 23 ticks left. But the lead was short-lived.

Irving Universal Academy’s big man Jamal Gaines finally stomped out the Greyhounds’ comeback bid with his game-winning layup and-one in a 52-50 victory over Slidell in the Class A Region III quarterfinal at Boyd High School.

The 6-foot-9 Gaines finished with 11 points.

“It’s tough. We were able to keep their athleticism at bay for the first three quarters,” said Slidell coach Casey Pierce. “Then in the fourth, they got some backside rebounds and [Gaines] hit some tough jumpshots. The play at the end, we had a few defensive breakdowns. We got lost and missed a rotation, and he was able to get to the hole. It’s unfortunate.”

The loss ends the Greyhounds’ season at 27-6 for the District 21-A champions. It was the second straight year for Slidell to fall in the region quarterfinal.

“From day one, we remembered last year,” said senior guard Layton Shelton. “We shot a lot and constantly lifted weights. It was different with a new coach, but we adjusted well. We didn’t let up until the end.”

Shelton scored 17 in his final game, including a layup off a Universal turnover in the final minute to bring Slidell within one.

Pruett paced Slidell with 18. Horner finished with 15. They were the only Greyhounds to score.

Slidell held a 23-22 lead at halftime.

Jacob Slade tossed in six points in the third to lead Irving Universal to a 39-36 advantage going into the fourth quarter.

Irving opened the fourth on a 10-5 run to build the eight-point lead.

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