BATON ROUGE -- Given the disappointment associated with last year’s losing season and state playoff void, Denham Springs High is trying to build toward a brighter future.

More than five months before the season of the 2017-18 campaign the Yellow Jackets value any potential building block in that process.

Despite being without three players DSHS closed out the Woodlawn Summer League with a convincing 40-30 victory Thursday over the host Panthers, giving the Jackets a break-even mark in the four-week competition.

“It’s a good note to go into the season strong,” sophomore guard Keondre Brown said. “We had a bad season (10-24) last year. So we want to go into the season strong. We want to make the playoffs.”

Denham trailed for just over a total of 2 minutes in the first quarter, grabbing the lead (6-5) for good on Brown’s driving lay-up and never looking back.

Brown was the Jackets lone double-figure scorer with 14 points, but his teammates chipped in with a balanced effort that featured 19 points from the post trio of Dorsett Washington (7), Xavier Miles (6) and Bryan Harvey (6), the latter who returned from an injury after a three-week absence.

“They’re a big part of our team,” Brown said of Washington, Miles and Harvey. “We have a whole lot of guards, so without them we wouldn’t be able to rebound as much as we do.”

Third-year coach Kevin Caballero also praised the play of starting guard Ray Whitley, whose tough, hanging drive followed Brown’s basket and was part of his team’s 10-7 first-quarter lead.

“Ray brought a lot of energy,” he said. “He made some good decisions both offensively and defensively. Woodlawn had a kid that could really shoot it. I thought we did a good job with our decision making.”

DSHS flexed its interior muscle in the second half, opening as much as a 21-13 advantage before settling for a 21-16 halftime lead following a Woodlawn 3-pointer with 1.7 seconds left.

Brown converted a three-point play following an offensive rebound for a 13-9 edge and Harvey followed with a three-point play to make it 16-11 with 3 minutes left before halftime.

Washington’s putback, the third try at the basket for Denham, and a later free throw with 34.3 seconds left accounted for his team’s eight-point cushion.

“I felt like if we could get it inside we’d have a little better chance and play inside-out,” Caballero said. “I was glad to see Bryan back and get some minutes.”

Brown made two of his team’s three field goals in the third quarter, recovering a loose ball in the lane for a lay-in, and finishing a drive after an offensive rebound to result in a 26-20 lead with just over 4 minutes remaining.

Miles took a pass and drove from the edge of the free-throw line to cap the quarter, a stretch where the Yellow Jackets limited Woodlawn to 1-of-10 shooting and held the Panthers without a field goal over the last 4 minutes, 28 seconds.

“I thought we defended well on the perimeter,” said Caballero, whose team limited Woodlawn to 26% shooting. “I didn’t think we rebounded well defensively and gave them some second-chance opportunities, but that will come.”

Washington, who was fouled on a fast-break attempt, made a pair of free throws in the opening minute of the fourth quarter, providing Denham Springs High with its first double-figure lead (30-20 of the game.

The Jackets maintained that margin on Washington’s 10-footer and Whitley made it 35-22 with 3:19 to play on a three-point play following a driving layup.

Denham, which shot 39%, twice matched that margin in the final 2 minutes of play on Brown’s steal and layup and again on Harvey’s basket on a feed from Washington with 8 seconds left.

“We’re going to have some voluntary workouts in July,” Caballero said. “We wanted to end with a win and help the kids to feel good about themselves and look forward to the upcoming year.”

Brown added: “Everyone has to work on their game and get better. Our team should be better than last year.”

Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.