When his team needed him to take control, Cameron Lumar went on the attack.
Lumar attacked the basket over and over, scoring 24 of his game-high 34 points after halftime as Hahnville broke open a two-point halftime lead to earn a 71-54 victory at rival Destrehan Tuesday.
A Hahnville team that’s been tested multiple times thus far this season had another test here – as always, emotions were high when these teams face off and the atmosphere at times tense. HHS head coach Yussef Jasmine said once his players got past the early adrenaline of playing in the rivalry matchup, the execution began to follow.
“Anytime we play Destrehan, especially now, there are so many different emotions that come with this game,” Jasmine said. “We wanted to play fast early – I thought that would settle our guys down and let them get into the game. We know one of their main sources of offense is on second chance points, but that meant once we rebounded it, we had a chance to push the ball.
“We knew it would take a strong effort to come in and beat Destrehan. It’s always a good, tough battle.”
And this was the kind of night Lumar relishes.
“I love it. (The crowd) brings the energy to me,” Lumar said. “I love playing against rivals, in front of big crowds. It’s great.”
His shot began to fall in the second half – “Coach told me to keep shooting. Shooters always shoot, I did, and I knocked them down” – but his ability to score at the basket and draw fouls changed the game.
“That’s how I play,” Lumar said. “Make the refs call fouls. I know one person can’t stop me,” Lumar said.
Ahmad Simmons added nine points for Hahnville. Chris Moore led Destrehan with 26 points.Jai Thomas and Leslie Jefferson each scored nine.
The Tigers (11-8, 1-0 in District 7-5A) led 33-28 early in the second half when they began to get out in transition. A leak out basket by Calvin Smith followed by a pull-up jumper by Lumar made it 39-28 and gave the Tigers some cushion. Lumar drove and made a basket inside to extend the led to 13 before Jefferson interrupted the HHS run with a score inside of his own.
With the Tigers up by 10 midway through the third quarter, Ahmad Simmons drilled a 3-pointer from the corner to make it 14 again. Jai Thomas and Moore answered on back-to-back buckets for the Wildcats, and a Jefferson triple from the wing cut the lead to six late in the third.
But Lumar answered with a 3 of his own with 15 seconds left, pushing the lead back to nine entering the fourth.
That served as something of a turning point in Hahnville’s favor, as some mistakes began to pile up for the Wildcats. Lumar scored a bucket and drew a foul – on top of the basket, Destrehan was called for a technical foul, which added up to two more free throws and possession for Hahnville. Lumar sank two of three to make it 53-40. Thomas scored in transition off a turnover, but Destrehan did not have another run in them on this night. With HHS up by 10, Lumar and Tyray Bartholomew scored back-to-back baskets to push the lead to 14, and the game was all but decided.
Jasmine said the Tigers built their schedule to prepare them for the stretch and potential playoff run. Lumar echoed that.
“We’ve already played so many of the top teams … Madison Prep, Scotlandville, St. Thomas More, Newman. So, we know how that looks, and we’ll be good going into the playoffs,” Lumar said.
Meanwhile, first-year Destrehan head coach Khary Carroll has been guiding the Wildcats through a retooling season after the departure of several key players from a strong 2021-22 season.
In Tuesday’s game, Carroll said the difference came down to composure.
“We talked all week about that,” he said. “Composure, discipline, the things you need to have in crunch time. I thought we fought hard for two quarters, but in the second half, we really let that mental side of the game get away.”
“This game, I believe, is 20 percent physical and 80 percent mental. You’re gonna get fouled. You’re gonna get tired. If you lose it because the ref missed a foul, or because someone made a comment in the crowd, you’re gonna get beat. It’s over now, and we have to learn from our mistakes and make it 1-1 in district this Friday when we play H.L. Bourgeois.”
Carroll noted this was one of the best nights rebounding the basketball his team has had all season.
“They get up for Hahnville,” said Carroll. “We preached all week about rebounding … there’s the good and bad with that, because you see them get up for Hahnville, but my thing as their coach is I want them to bring that every single game.”
Moore, Carroll added, has done a tremendous job taking on a major leadership role on the court this season.
“He’s a senior who has stepped into a position we needed help with, after losing our point guard early this season,” said Carroll. “Chris has stepped up big for us.”