Jai Johnson drew a double team near the end of the third quarter and looked to his left, where Cam Lumar was spotting up from beyond the 3-point line. Lumar got the pass and fired as time expired and fired confidently.
He knew the shot was true – and the roar of the home crowd at Hahnville only reinforced the matter.
That pushed Hahnville’s lead to 50-33 and the No. 12 seed Tigers never looked back, 70-47 winners over No. 21 Hammond in a first round Division I non-select playoff game.
“Our home crowd (was a big difference). I feel like our seniors this year just weren’t ready to go home,” Lumar said. “We lost in the first round last year and we didn’t want that feeling again. We had a home game tonight and we came out and played hard.”
The Tigers (20-15) advance to round two to face No. 5 Ouachita Parish, which defeated No. 28 Parkway 74-47 in round one.
Lumar scored a game-high 24 – including 18 in the second half – to lead the Tigers. Johnson added 18. Calvin Smith and Cobe Landry each added seven.
Zach Staten led Hammond (19-12) with 16 points.
It was the kind of complete performance Hahnville head coach Yussef Jasmine was hoping to see in his team’s playoff opener.
“Our guys are finally starting to understand patience,” Jasmine said. “We’ve been playing good teams all year long. I think we were able to be patient and execute … really, to be kind of methodical, making the right plays … I think it was good we could score 70 playing like that, doing it the right way.”
The Tigers led by 12 late in the third quarter when a Landry layup sparked a run Hammond wouldn’t recover from.
Johnson followed up with a steal and a pull-up jumper that made it a 16-point lead. Slaton answered, but Lumar’s shot to end the quarter seemed to be a dagger.
“He’s not just a good basketball player but such an intelligent young man,” Jasmine said of Lumar. “We talk about starting and finishing quarters … I think they’ve kind of taken to that. When the leader takes to it, it makes it easier.”
That shot sparked Lumar to a personal run of seven straight points, capping that with a steal at one and a conversion on the other. Smith came through next, showing hustle and marksmanship – he grabbed an offensive rebound and finished that possession with a 3-pointer from the corner to make it a 23-point lead.
In all, it was a 14-3 run that proved the Tigers’ knockout power.
“I think we’re starting to see that they’ve matured a little bit,” Jasmine said. “They understand this game is gonna be fast, the tempo of the playoffs … unfortunately, (a loss) is what it takes, but the kids get used to playing in big moments.”
The Tigers’ second round matchup will pit them against a program it saw in the quarterfinals of the 2020 postseason, a game Hahnville won 70-67 to advance to the state basketball tournament.