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Slidell to meet Jayton in 1A final as Hounds seek first title in 75 years

By Reece Waddell | Published Friday, March 8, 2019.
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The Slidell Greyhounds are one win from their first state championship in 75 years.

After dispatching Oakwood in the Class A semifinal Thursday, Slidell must clear one final hurdle— Jayton — to bring home the title. The two schools will meet in the Class A final at 8:30 a.m. Saturday at the Alamodome in San Antonio.

Slidell’s Hunter Horner #11 and Slidell’s Tristyn Talamantes #20 walk Slidell’s Slayton Pruett #13 to the could line late in fourth quarter. UIL boys basketball 1A State semi-final between Slidell and Oakwood on Thursday, March 7, 2019 at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas. (Ron Cortes/ Special Contributor)

“[Jayton] did a lot of things [well] that we didn’t do well in the semifinal,” said Slidell coach Casey Pierce. “Ball control, their halfcourt defense was really solid even though they were outsized at several positions against Nazareth. Obviously, the shooting ability. It’s going to present a very different game plan than what we had [Thursday].”

The Jaybirds upended No. 2 Nazareth 38-37 on a last second shot by Tye Scogin in the other semifinal game. Jayton led for a majority of the morning against the Swifts and shot 6-for-17 from beyond the arc.

Slidell’s Easton Vanover #23 shoots over two Oakwood defenders. UIL boys basketball 1A State semi-final between Slidell and Oakwood on Thursday, March 7, 2019 at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas. (Ron Cortes/ Special Contributor)

“I was extremely impressed with Jayton and what I saw out of them shooting the basketball,” Pierce said. “Our defense is going to have to be better. We’re going to have to protect the ball better and shoot a higher percentage in the paint and at the free throw line.”

Jayton took second place in District 15-A and sports a 26-6 record. The ninth-ranked Jaybirds downed Northside, Lueders-Avoca, Munday, Eden, Irion County and Nazareth en route to the championship game.

Sliidell (32-8) has taken down Ector, Saltillo, Eula, Lipan and Oakwood to get to this point. The sixth-ranked Greyhounds barely survived a scare from Oakwood in the semifinal, escaping with a 47-45 win despite 22 turnovers.

Slidell had another two-point victory in the third round against Saltillo and then came back to win the Region III title. Pierce is hoping for a repeat of that come Saturday.

“We had a similar situation and nearly got beat in the regional quarterfinals,” Pierce said. “We were able to take a breath and re-focus, then came out in the regional tournament and played pretty well. I’m hoping we’re able to re-focus like that before Saturday.”

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