Hahnville’s defense the key in rally over Destrehan

Jai Johnson of Hahnville celebrates Friday's victory.

Hahnville’s back was against the wall Friday night at home against rival Destrehan, which surged early in the second half to take a 44-31 lead.

Tigers head coach Yussef Jasmine made a call: to climb back into this game, it needed to be all about defense – and Hahnville’s suffocating pressure throughout the fourth quarter turned the night to the Tigers’ favor.

Hahnville captured a 62-57 victory, outscoring Destrehan 20-8 in the final quarter and sealing a season sweep of a game Wildcats’ squad. Cobe Landry’s 3-pointer with just under a minute left put Hahnville ahead 60-57. Destrehan’s attempt to tie fell short and Hahnville’s Jai Johnson sank two free throws at the line to seal the win.

“I knew it was a big game coming in, and I had to be confident all game,” said Landry, a sophomore. “I got the ball, and I knew it had to go in. This win means a lot. We needed this one. If we’d lost, winning district would have been in jeopardy, so we had to come out and get this one.”

Destrehan set out to limit Tigers’ leading scorer Cameron Lumar from the opening tip – Lumar lit up the scoreboard in the first meeting between the teams to begin the new year, scoring 34 points. This time, Lumar scored 18 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, 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 wealth of turnovers – steals that got the Tigers in the open court and on the scoreboard.

Jasmine turned to a smaller lineup to spark its rally. It was a calculated risk, given Destrehan was doing a lot of its damage on the boards and outrebounding the Tigers already.

“(The lineup) was defensive minded, unorthodox in a sense in that they were beating us up on boards and then we went small. Usually you want  to put all your big boys in, but I felt like we needed to put pressure on them defensively,” Jasmine said.

It was an important win for HHS after losses to Terrebonne and Hannan back-to-back last week and matchups with East St. John and Country Day slated thereafter.  HHS will need some help to capture the district lead, however: DHS, ESJ and Terrebonne all were entering Friday tied with two district losses atop District 7-5A. On Tuesday night, East St. John defeated Hahnville, 51-45, to assume sole possession of first place in 7-5A. Terrebonne fell to Central Lafourche as well on Tuesday, making second place a three-way tie currently.

“At the end of the game, we knew we all had to play,” said Hahnville’s Jai Johnson, the district’s defensive MVP last season.”All of us, we’re defenders, man. We’ve got heart. Anytime we play, we’re ready. And when we were down, I knew we had to pick it up as a team,”

Jai Thomas led Destrehan (7-10,3-3)  with 21 points, including 16 in the third quarter as Destrehan built its double-digit lead. Chris Moore scored 19 and Kaden Nickelson scored eight.

DHS head coach Khary Carrell said his team was able to keep Lumar out of rhythm early, but that some lapses from there led to the senior sinking some critical shots.

Likewise, some mistakes down the stretch cost DHS dearly.

“There  are certain times of the game where, even though you may be hitting shots, you’ve gotta be smart,” Carrell said.” We took seven quick shots, shots we didn’t have to because we were up.

“We’re not out of it, but the situation now is that we need to win out.”

Destrehan led 24-23 in the third quarter when Thomas made a three from the top of the circle. He wasn’t finished in the least, adding an acrobatic shot and drawing a foul for a three-point play, then repeating the feat for his team’s next score. Another 3, then a tough inside make and yet another basket after that came from the inspired senior, who lifted his team to a 44-31 lead.

Landry sank a 3 to make it a 10-point game. Lumar drove for a score to cut it to eight.

Two  Tyray Bartholomew free throws made the lead six and Hahnville was officially charging.

Leslie Jefferson nailed a 3 to stop  the run, but Hahnville scored on consecutive put backs to answer.’

Lumar cut it to 5 early in the 4th after a HHS steal. Jefferson sank two free throws, but Destrehan missed its next four at the line. Johnson scored, then Bartholomew off a steal and then a Calvin Smith layup cut the DHS lead to one.

Bartholomew gave Hahnville a 52-51 lead with 3:44 left. The teams traded scores before HHS turned the momentum for good. With DHS up three, Dylan Ramage tied the game on a layup and one.

Then after a Johnson steal, Landry sank the biggest shot of the night.

“We’ve known all along he could do this. He’s been up and down … he stepped up tonight for us,” Jasmine said.

 

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