Basketball: Slidell cruises past Roxton – Greyhounds earn trip back to region quarterfinals

By Reece Waddell | Published Saturday, February 24, 2018
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Area Champs

AREA CHAMPS – The Slidell Greyhounds pose with the area trophy after defeating Roxton. Messenger photo by Mack Thweatt

The Slidell Greyhounds felt like their 2017 season ended prematurely with a loss to Saltillo in the regional quarterfinal.

Now almost a year later, Slidell has earned the right to avenge its early playoff exit.

GOING FOR TWO MORE – Layton Shelton drives to the basket against Roxton. Shelton finished with a team-high 12 points in Slidell’s area round playoff win. Messenger photo by Mack Thweatt

Behind a dominant defensive performance, the Greyhounds cruised to a 63-23 victory over Roxton Thursday night at Bells in the Class A Region III area playoff.

Slidell will meet Irving Universal Academy at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Boyd in the regional quarterfinal.

“We’ve worked all year to get back to this point,” said Slidell coach Casey Pierce. “Now, we have an opportunity to make amends for what we didn’t accomplish last year.”

The Greyhounds forced over 20 turnovers in the victory, using a full-court trap to suffocate the Lions. Slidell held Roxton scoreless for more than an eight-minute stretch, going on a 14-0 run to build a double-digit lead.

Senior Layton Shelton led the Greyhounds in scoring with 12. Slayton Pruett added eight.

Although Slidell won by 40 points, both Pierce and Shelton agreed they must clean up several things before their next game. The Greyhounds committed a slew of turnovers and shot 61.3 percent (19-for-31) from the charity stripe.

“We can’t let off the gas,” Shelton said. “We can’t do that. We have to shut teams out in the first half when we’re up by that much.”

Slidell trailed briefly in the first quarter after surrendering back-to-back 3-pointers. The Greyhounds then used a balanced offensive attack to overwhelm the Lions. Ten different Slidell players scored in the victory.

With under 30 seconds left in the first half, Slidell allowed Roxton to get an easy layup and then threw an errant pass that led to a buzzer-beating 3 to end the second quarter. The Lions cut the lead to 31-16 at halftime, but that was as close as they got for the rest of the game.

The Greyhounds held Roxton to just seven points in the second half as they continued to pile it on.

“We’ve been working on defense since day one, and it really helps on the offensive end when you’re shutting teams down like that,” Shelton said.

With the victory, Slidell extended its winning streak to 15 games. The Greyhounds also improved to 27-6 on the season and claimed the area title for the second straight year.

Now comes the opportunity Slidell has waited nearly 365 days for – a chance to get the taste of last season’s playoff loss out of their mouths.

“It was a punch in the gut last year,” Pierce said. “I don’t think I’ll have to motivate them too hard to get them up for that game because of the way it ended last year.”

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