SPORTS HEADLINES

Slidell cruises past Roxton, advances to regional quarterfinal

By Reece Waddell | Published Thursday, February 22, 2018.
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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.

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 in the next round.

“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 over a quarter of play, 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 said after the game they must clean up several things before their next game. The Greyhounds committed a slew of turnovers themselves and also shot 61.3 percent 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’s.  The Greyhounds then used a balanced offensive attack to overwhelm the Lions, as 10 different 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 anxiously waited 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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