Hahnville led early, but its season came to a close Friday night after host East Ascension rallied back to capture a 61-52 Class 5A first round playoff victory.
It was a measure of payback for the Spartans, a season after the Tigers felled them in round two of the 2021 postseason to eliminate EA. The Spartans trailed by five early in the third quarter before EA’s Troy Dunn, Keith Thomas and N’derius Walker got rolling.
“The story of most of our games against really good teams … we start out really well, but because of our lack of experience, when we have to go deeper into our bench, it tends to hurt us,” said Hahnville head coach Yussef Jasmine. “We had 20 turnovers in the game … in the playoffs, you can’t turn it over more than 10 times a game. The possessions are too valuable.”
Hahnville (19-13) took a 15-11 advantage into the second quarter and led 29-26 at halftime.
“I thought we played really well in the first half, but we lost a little bit from there,” Jasmine said.
East Ascension took control in the third quarter and pulled ahead by five headed into the fourth, ultimately holding on to win.
The Spartans have advanced to the second round for seven straight seasons.
Dunn scored 17 to lead East Ascension. Walker and Thomas each scored 16.
Cameron Lumar led Hahnville with 28 points. Jai Johnson added 11.
For Hahnville, much of the core group of this team will return next season, with just two seniors departing via graduation. After back-to-back final four runs, this year’s team was full of first-time starters and rotation players and Friday night’s game was one more learning experience.
“I think the reality is, the kids have to see it first,” Jasmine said. “Until they see it, it becomes very difficult, and in the playoffs, you have to be able to see yourself handling that moment … especially when you have close games, it’s hard, and my guys needed to get that experience under their belt.”
He added the future is bright for this squad, and praised their ability to fight through adversity throughout the season.
“It’s why I really wanted this team to win district, because I know what these guys have battled through,” said Jasmine, whose team finished one game behind district co-champions Destrehan and East St. John. “We’re young, and we didn’t play one game with everyone healthy. So, we asked a lot from them … of course it’s disappointing, because the goal is to be the last team standing, the one holding the state championship trophy. But, as a program, we’re gonna keep going.”