The Bartlett Boys made it all the way to the Finals of the Allstate Sugar Bowl National Prep Classic but could not get past Olympia High from Orlando, Florida, falling 58-53 in the title game on Saturday, Jan. 7.
Earlier Saturday, the Panthers defeated Archbishop Shaw 65-30 to get into the final game of the national tournament in New Orleans.
Bartlett’s first two wins in the Sugar Bowl Classic were nail-biters – a 43-41 victory over St. Augustine (8-10) of New Orleans on Thursday, Jan. 5, and then a 48-39 overtime win Friday against Newman High (18-3) out of New Orleans.
In the title game, Bartlett (15-5) trailed the Olympia Titans (14-1) by as much as 11 during the first half. K.J. Neville hit a 3-pointer as time expired in the first half to cut the Titans lead to 31-24 at the break.
In the second half, the Titans were able to maintain a lead of about 8 points, led by tournament MVP Jizzle James, who finished with 22 points and 6 rebounds against Bartlett.
With time waning in the fourth quarter, Panther junior Jack Shackelford hit a 3-pointer to cut the Titans lead to 52-47 with 1:39 left in the game. Shackelford had 16 points in the final game and was named to the All-Tournament Team along with Neville.
Bartlett got as close as 3 points when Dajuan Montague put back an offensive rebound on a missed shot and made the score 56-53 with 21 seconds left.
But the Titans hit two free throws and closed out the game, 58-53.