After falling in two games at the Country Day Classic tournament, Hahnville rebounded in a big way to win five of their next six games, including consecutive wins over Ellender, Thibodaux and Carver.
The Tigers’ lone loss in that stretch was to a strong Karr team, 47-46, but overall coach Yussef Jasmine is pleased with the way his team has responded to its first back to back losses of the season, which came at the tournament by scores of 76-52 to Riverside and 54-53 to De La Salle.
“I thought we kind of lost our identity a bit against Riverside, knowing what caliber of team they were,” Jasmine said. “That was the one game I was disappointed in, because I felt like there was a little bit of, ‘Oh, we don’t belong here with these guys’ seeping in. That old mentality came upon them. Against De La Salle, we played much harder and had a chance to win, but showed the competitiveness we need to have. It was progress for sure.”
With a record of 13-5, the Tigers have eclipsed their win total from a year ago. Jasmine said the Thibodaux win Dec. 28 at the St. Augustine tournament was a key one against a district opponent — though the game was in tournament play and one that doesn’t yet count in the district standings, Thibodaux entered play in that game as the highest ranked team among those in District 7-5A.
Ian Arnold led Hahnville with 18 points scored. Glenn Grover scored 14 and Claudell Harris added eight for the Tigers.
“Any time you play against a playoff caliber opponent, particularly one in district, you want to put on your best showing,” Jasmine said. “Thibodaux is very physical, with some big guys … long, athletic kids. I think they’ll be right there competing at the top of our district, so it was a nice win for us.”
Hahnville begins district play this week, and Jasmine said the league will provide fierce competition top to bottom.
“The good thing about this district is, over the years, it’s had playoff teams throughout,” he said. “You can’t take a night off or have that one game you can coast. It keeps hunger with your guys.”
On Dec. 27, the Tigers defeated Ellender at the St. Augustine tournament 69-47. Dylan Lorio led Hahnville with 17 points. Grover scored 13 and Arnold scored 12.
The Tigers closed out play at the St. Augustine tourney with a 64-39 win over Carver. Arnold led all scorers with 18. Harris scored eight.
Hahnville’s depth has proven a strength. Arnold earned All-Tournament Team honors at St. Augustine while coming off the bench in each game. Several players have proven to be strong scoring options, and the Tigers recently got the services of Jamel Byrd back in the frontcourt with the conclusion of football season.
“Thibodaux was a perfect example (of the team’s strong depth),” Jasmine said. “Our two bigs get in foul trouble in Jamel Byrd and Alonge McClain and sit a huge part of the first half, but we still came out with the win. To withstand a game like that, it shows how far we’ve come collectively with our defense. But we haven’t reached our ceiling yet.”
Hahnville will host Terrebonne Friday night in district play.