Hahnville’s defense the key in rally over Destrehan
Hahnville’s Jai Johnson celebrates Friday’s win.
Hahnville had their backs against the wall at home on Friday night against rival Destrehan, who led 44-31 early in the second half.
Tigers head coach Yussef Jasmine decided: To get back into this game it had to be about defense – and Hahnville’s suffocating pressure in the fourth quarter turned the evening in the Tigers’ favour.
Hahnville earned a 62-57 win, beating Destrehan 20-8 in the last quarter and sealing a win of the season against the Wildcats roster. Cobe Landry’s 3-pointer by just under a minute gave Hahnville a 60-57 lead. Destrehan’s attempt to equalize fell short and Hahnville’s Jai Johnson sunk two free throws off the line to seal the win.
“I knew it was going to be a big game and I had to be confident throughout the game,” said Landry, a sophomore. “I got the ball and I knew it had to go in. This win means a lot to me. We needed this one. If we lost, the winning district would have been in jeopardy, so we had to go out and get this one.”
Destrehan went about limiting the Tigers’ top scorer, Cameron Lumar, from the opening lead – Lumar lit the scoreboard in the teams’ first clash at the start of the new year, scoring 34 points. This time Lumar scored 18 goals and his teammates would have to make up that difference at the offensive end. They were up to the task, including Landry, who scored 16 points, including four 3-pointers.
But where Lumar, Landry and their teammates really found their stride was on defense, where they swarmed DHS ball handlers and forced a plethora of turnovers — steals that brought the Tigers to the open field and the scoreboard.
Jasmine turned to a smaller lineup to ignite his rally. It was a calculated risk as Destrehan was doing a lot of his damage on the boards and was already passing the Tigers.
“(The line-up) was defensive, unorthodox in a sense, as they beat us up on boards and then we went small. Normally you want to put all your big boys in, but I felt like we needed to put some pressure on them defensively,” Jasmine said.
It was an important win for HHS after losses to Terrebonne and Hannan last week and matchups with East St. John and Country Day scheduled thereafter. However, HHS will need some help to capture district leadership: DHS, ESJ and Terrebonne all came in at the top of District 7-5A on Friday with two district losses. On Tuesday night, East St. John defeated Hahnville 51-45 to take sole first place with 7-5A. Terrebonne also fell to Central Lafourche on Tuesday, making second place currently a three-way tie.
“By the end of the game, we knew we all had to play,” said Hahnville’s Jai Johnson, the district’s defensive MVP last season. “We’re all defenders, man. we have heart Whenever we play, we’re ready. And once we were down I knew we had to catch up as a team.
Jai Thomas led Destrehan (7-10,3-3) with 21 points, including 16 in the third quarter as Destrehan built his double-digit lead. Chris Moore scored 19 and Kaden Nickelson eight.
DHS head coach Khary Carrell said his team was able to throw Lumar off the rhythm early on, but some errors from there resulted in the senior sinking some critical shots.
Likewise, some errors cost the DHS dearly.
“There are certain times in the game where you have to be smart, even when hitting shots,” Carrell said. We took seven quick shots, shots we didn’t have to take because we were upstairs.
“We’re not out, but the situation now is that we have to push through.”
Destrehan was leading 24-23 in the third quarter when Thomas made a three from the top of the circle. Not finished in the slightest, he added an acrobatic shot and pulled a foul for a three-point play, then repeated the feat for his team’s next result. Another 3, then a hard inside make and yet another basket after that came from the inspired senior who put his team to a 44-31 lead.
Landry pocketed a 3 to make it a 10-point game. Lumar drove for a score only to reduce it to eight.
Two free throws from Tyray Bartholomew put the lead six and Hahnville officially attacked.
Leslie Jefferson nailed a 3 to stop the run, but Hahnville hit on back-to-back put-backs to reply.’
Lumar cut it to 5 early in the 4th after an HHS steal. Jefferson pocketed two free throws, but Destrehan missed his next four at the line. Johnson scored, then Bartholomew made a steal, and then a Calvin Smith layup cut the DHS lead to one.
Bartholomew gave Hahnville a 52-51 lead by 3:44. The teams traded points before HHS finally turned the momentum. With DHS on three, Dylan Ramage connected the game with a layup and a.
Then, after a steal from Johnson, Landry sunk the biggest shot of the night.
“We knew all along that he could do it. He was pacing… he got up for us tonight,” Jasmine said.