Hahnville celebrated as the clock struck zero in its 69-56 victory over visiting Destrehan Tuesday night, enjoying a victory well-earned over its archrival – and a storm weathered.
Destrehan furiously charged back after trailing by as many as 17 in the second half – it was, in fact, a 17-0 run by the Wildcats that put the Tigers back on their heels and threatened to shake the confidence of a young Hahnville squad down the stretch.
“It was a good team win,” said Cameron Lumar, who led Hahnville with a game-high 23. “We knew coming in this was going to be a hard game, an intense game, but we pulled through like we always do.”
But the Tigers (10-8, 1-0 in District 7-5A) regrouped and executed in the final minutes to reestablish a double-digit lead, earning a victory in a matchup that had several different dynamics to it than the past few seasons. The Tigers have dominated the rivalry in recent years, but Destrehan’s program has ascended in year two under head coach Troy Green – the Wildcats (12-3, 0-1) entered this game ranked third in the state, and were seeking a victory over the Tigers to clear another milestone in a season already full of them.
HHS head coach Yussef Jasmine said he and his team knew a strong team was coming to their gym, and for a young Tigers team with several new starters this season, this game was a measuring stick.
“We’ve seen Carver, Newman, Zachary, Landry, Catholic, Country Day twice … when you play teams like that, win or lose, with a young group, you need these guys to get that experience. This game was important for us, beyond it being Destrehan, for a young group to see that we can beat a team – they’re the No. 3 ranked team in the state – in a packed gym. That was important.”
Another new dynamic was this game was played at Hahnville’s home gym – the first battle of the rivalry to do so in the Tigers’ renovated home building, which now accommodates significant additional seating included amongst several upgrades. The same has been done at Destrehan, meaning the two schools will have a home and home series for the first time in many years – the matchup has taken place at R.K. Smith in past seasons.
The crowd included two energized fanbases – Hahnville has been to back to back state semifinals, while Destrehan’s leap this season has reinvigorated its supporters.
“We fed off the energy,” Lumar said. “Outside that, don’t let it you out your game. Play as a team and we’re good.”
Cameron Lumar’s bucket with just over a minute left in the third quarter put Hahnville ahead 49-32. Green called time out, then his team began charging back. Devin Fourcha made a basket inside, then moments later drilled a 3-pointer as time ran out in the third to cut Hahnville’s lead to 12.
Kaden Nickelson drew a foul for Destrehan and sank of two from the line. A DHS offensive rebound led to a putback by Fourcha to make it a 49-40 HHS lead. Fourcha then drove and dished off to Calvin Bullock, who went up and converted a layup to cut it to seven. Destrehan tied up Hahnville for a jumpball and possession went back to DHS on the next possession, and Bullock scored again and drew a foul for an and-one. That made it 49-45, and Hahnville turned it over again as Destrehan turned up its defensive pressure. Nickelson drove and made a pull up jumper to bring his team within two.
Bullock and Daniel Blood trapped Hahnville for a steal, and Bullock dished to Nickelson underneath for a layup to tie the game.
Hahnville needed to regroup, and turned to its leading scorer on the season: Lumar, who converted for two at the other end on the ensuing possession to break the 17-0 run.
“(In the timeout huddle) I just told our guys, look, we’re good. Chill. We’ve been through this before, in the first 17 games this season,” Lumar said. “We know how to handle this.”
DaQuan Price came up with a key offensive rebound and putback to extend Hahnville’s leads to four. Fourcha made two at the line to keep the pressure on. Ahmand Simmons pushed Hahnville’s lead back to four, 55-51.
The Tigers began finding ways to break the Destrehan press. Jai Johnson drove to the hoop and finished a layup. A Nickelson 3-pointer rimmed out, and Destrehan still trailed by four. The Wildcats went cold from the field and Lumar drew a foul with just under two minutes left to push his team’s advantage to six. A Destrehan offensive foul created a dire situation for DHS, and Titus White’s layup with a minute left all but spelled victory for Hahnville, which led by eight.
“There are different jitters in games like that,” Jasmine said. “So, to lose it a little bit (with Destrehan’s comeback) and then bounce back to execute the way we did … we’ve been preparing for it for awhile now.”
Lumar scored 23 to lead Hahnville. Johnson added 14 and Price 13 for the Tigers. For Destrehan, Fourcha and Nickelson led the way with 17 and 16, respectively.