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Slidell ends championships drought, beats Jayton in Class A final

By Reece Waddell | Published Saturday, March 9, 2019.
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The drought is finally over.

After 75 long years, the Slidell Greyhounds scaled the mountain back to the top of the Class A basketball world Saturday morning.

Behind a 10-point, 21-rebound performance from MVP Slayton Pruett, whose grandfather played for Slidell in the 1960s, the Greyhounds knocked off Jayton 49-36 in the Class A final at the Alamodome in San Antonio.

“It means a lot, not only for me, but for the whole community,” Pruett said. “It’s honoring to be here and do what they weren’t able to do. My grandfather was in tears when I went up to him, and that was because he missed it. I’m glad I was able to do that for him.”

Slidell’s Slayton Pruett #13 scores two. UIL boys basketball 1A State Final between Slidell v Jayton on Saturday March 9, 2019 at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas. (Ron Cortes/ Special Contributor)

Pruett anchored a suffocating defense that held the Jaybirds to 28 percent shooting. The 6-6 post blocked five shots, recorded a steal and an assist.

“I’m extremely proud of Slayton,” said Slidell coach Casey Pierce. “He had a really good game. He passed the ball really well against the double team. Just his ability to be able to control the paint allows our guys to be more aggressive. He’s a special player and I am thrilled to have him. He’s put in a lot of work to get to this point and I’m excited for him.”

Slidell, which struggled in the semifinal Thursday against Oakwood, opened up a 13-5 lead after the first quarter.

The Greyhounds’ full-court press forced 16 Jayton turnovers, leading to uncontested opportunities in transition.

The Slidell Greyhounds won the Class A championship Saturday, beating Jayton 49-36 at the Alamodome in San Antonio. (Ron Cortes/ Special Contributor)

“We had talked since the semifinal Thursday that we needed to play a faster pace than they wanted to,” Pierce said. “Just them having to run three quarters to that extent, I think it took something out of them, to some extent. I think some wear and tear had caught up with them by the fourth quarter.”

Jayton made an 8-0 run early in the second quarter to tie the game. Slidell regained the lead before halftime with back-to-back baskets by Pruett.

The Jaybirds continued to hang with the Greyhounds in the third frame until Slidell’s relentless defense took its toll. Jayton committed five turnovers in the fourth period and shot just 18.2 percent.

The Greyhounds sealed their first championship since 1944 on a Hunter Horner 3-pointer followed by an and-one with under four minutes left. Horner led all scorers with 12 points.

“I think every one of us dreamed about this since we were in junior high like, ‘Oh, we’re going to win it when we’re older,’” Horner said. “Most people don’t. To finally be here is definitely a dream come true.”

 

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