Istrouma finishes strong to top St. Amant in Hall of Fame Classic

Peter Silas Pasqua
St. Amant’s Steve Fulkerson converts a lay up over Istrouma’s Dexter Bryant in the Indians’ 57-54 Hall of Fame Basketball Classic victory Saturday evening at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.

BATON?ROUGE - Istrouma finished on a 7-1 run in the opening game of the second round of the  LHSAA/LHSCA?Hall of Fame Basketball Classic Saturday evening for a 57-54 victory over St. Amant.

The Gators took the lead 53-50 with 1:25 left to play on Steve Fulkerson’s inside basket and one before Dexter Bryant’s dish to Ronald McGhee off an inbound’s pass. Bryant and Joshua Devose would each hit two free throws down the stretch and Christean Smith added another to seal the exhibition victory.

Rashaun Claiborne led all scorers with 23 points for St. Amant. Fulkerson added nine, while Bruce Mathison provided eight and Brandon Morris and Nick Morris each had seven.

McGhee led Istrouma with 16 points. Steven Jackson added 11 and Roy Knox provided eight.

Smith fed Knox for a 3-pointer near the top of the key at the third quarter buzzer to put Istrouma ahead 39-38 after Claiborne’s putback. Claiborne opened the final frame with another before Bryant fed Darius Johnson inside. McGhee’s bucket after Claiborne’s put the Indians ahead till Fulkerson’s.

Darius Crain’s bank shot gave Istrouma a 48-44 lead after Mathison’s drive. Brandon Morris sandwiched 3-pointer around Joel Jackson’s inside bucket to knot it up 50-50.

Fulkerson’s inside basket opened the second half. Brandon Morris’ dish to Nick Morris inside gave St. Amant a 31-26 lead before McGhee’s putback.

Nick Morris’ 3-pointer near the top of the key preceded McGhee and Claiborne’s inside buckets before Smith and Knox’s 3-pointer knotted it up 36-36.

Claiborne scored St. Amant’s first 11 points as the Gators took a 9-4 early lead o his putback, lay up off a steal, 3-pointer and free throws as the Gators took an early 9-4 lead despite McGhee’s transition basket and 19-footer.

Smith’s bank shot with three seconds left in the first quarter made it 11-10 after Jacob Gauthier fed Claiborne inside.

Bryant’s putback gave Istrouma their first lead to open the second quarter before McGhee’s lay up off a steal and Bryant’s baseline drive. Fulkerson’s free throws ended the Indians’ 8-0 run before Bryant fed Knox off an inbounds pass.

Claiborne’s dish to Fulkerson inside preceded Jackson’s buckets inside and in transition to give Istrouma a 22-15 lead.

Claiborne’s two free throws with 25.3 seconds left in the quarter gave St. Amant a 23-22 halftime lead after Mathison’s consecutive 3-pointers from the left wing and near the top of the key.

St. Amant's Rashaun Claiborne converts over Istrouma's Joel Jackson and Christean Smith in the first half.