Hahnville Tigers surging at right time

Glenn Grover
Glenn Grover takes the ball to the rim for a Hahnville score.

With two games to go, Hahnville eyes a district championship and potentially high seeding in the upcoming Class 5A state playoffs.

Hahnville moved to 19-7 and 5-2 in District 7-5A with a pair of road victories over East St. John and Terrebonne, by respective scores of 67-51 and 68-52. The wins have been part of a four-game winning streak that also includes wins over H.L. Bourgeois and Destrehan, and entering the week Hahnville was tied in the loss column atop the 7-5A standings.

After handing H.L. Bourgeois a two-point loss — the Braves’ first loss in district competition this season — the Tigers have won their past three games by 16 points or more. Yussef Jasmine, in his first season as head coach with the Tigers, sees his team developing more and more confidence as the season has gone on, and for good reason. Hahnville is on the verge of doubling its win total of 10 from a season ago.

“This is a senior group that’s had three different coaches in four years,” Jasmine said. “So there’s a building process, confidence wise, that takes time. You have to get past that point of looking back at your old selves and thinking about losses that were in the past, to understand, ‘You know what? I am good enough and I do deserve to win.’”

For Jasmine in particular, the win at East St. John last week carries sentimental value. Jasmine coached the Wildcats to much success from 2007 through the 2017-18 season, and just two days after Hahnville defeated rival Destrehan, another emotional game was in the cards.

Jamel Byrd and the Tigers have been on a roll.

East St. John jumped out to a 14-2 lead in that game before Hahnville began to turn things around and eventually seize control of the game.

“The crowd was up for it and really into the game,” Jasmine said. “So, in that way, my homecoming was a little bittersweet. It gave East St. John a lot of energy and momentum and they got off to a good start. But after that, our kids settled down.”

Jasmine said earning a win in a tough road environment is only a positive for his team as the playoffs approach. That said, 7-5A has offered all of its teams a crash course in postseason-like intensity.

“It’s every night,” said Jasmine. “Every game has playoff potential. You move from your biggest rival in Destrehan to East St. John, where you knew the gym would be packed. We were the first team to beat H.L., and so that second game you know will be packed. It’s night after night after night and every game has significance.”

Briceson Harrell scored 13 to lead HHS. Glenn Grover and Dylan Lorio each scored 11 and Kendall Pierre scored 10.

In the Terrebonne win, Dylan Lorio led Hahnville with 14 points. Kaden Pierre scored 11 and Jamel Byrd scored 8.

While the close win over H.L. Bourgeois started the team’s win streak, Jasmine actually points to a loss that came just before as a turning point of the season.

“Even with the loss, I was really impressed with the toughness we showed that game. We fought really hard,” Jasmine said. “We showed the kind of physicality we needed to play with in.”

Each of Hahnville’s final two games will be played at home. Tipoff tonight against Central Lafourche is scheduled for 7:15 p.m., while a Friday night clash with ESJ is set to begin at 7:30 p.m.

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