After a brief two-game stretch without leading scorer Cameron Lumar, Hahnville is eying the stretch run of the season as a chance to springboard into the playoffs with plenty of momentum – they’ll have no shortage of big game scenarios to do just that.
HHS (15-12) faced Terrebonne on Wednesday night and fell in a tough battle, 66-62. That puts the Tigers’ next few games in a tier of added importance. On Friday night, the Tigers face a rematch with archrival Destrehan at Hahnville. Another rival awaits Tuesday as ESJ hosts the Tigers, then next Friday a showdown with perennial contender Country Day at HHS.
The next one up has Hahnville’s undivided attention, however: Destrehan.
“A rivalry game, packed gym with a lot of people … you have to be prepared for it,” Jasmine said. “East St. John, the first time around they were missing one of their better players. He’ll be back this time around. Country Day after that … so, we’ve got a few tests upcoming.”
The Tigers will be looking to bounce back from a 61-38 loss to Hannan Monday night. Hannan is in the midst of a potential state championship push and Jasmine said the Hawks are a force to be reckoned with. Lumar scored 7 in his return to the floor, and will look to round into further form on Friday night – he scored 34 in the first meeting between the rivals.
“Arguably, that’s the best team we’ve played all year,” said Jasmine of Hannan. “Halfcourt offense, halfcourt defense, transition offense, transition defense … they were really solid in all areas,” he said. “That’s a state championship-level team. We did some really good things last night defensively, but every time they drew help, they kicked and found the open shooter. We saw accountability at the highest level.”
Jasmine said despite the loss, there’s precedent for a game like this to be a jumping off point for his squad.
“Our first push to the Final Four, we had a game against Scotlandville … they beat us badly,” Jasmine said. “But that was instrumental to the rest of our season. I’m looking forward to our guys getting back out there. We have eight or nine games left … I think a message has been relayed as to what we need to do. Hopefully this propels us to our next phase of the season. We had a really good practice and film study coming out of this one.”
Friday’s game carries a tremendous amount of District 7-5A. Terrebonne, Destrehan, ESJ and Hahnville each have two district losses, a deadlock atop the district standings.
Lumar is back now, but in his absence, the Tigers needed to turn to others for production. One player who’s been reliable for the Tigers dating back to his Defensive Player of the Year award in District 7-5A is Jai Johnson, who creates problems for the opposition in several areas. Johnson scored a team-high 11 in the Tigers’ loss to Hannan, but the versatile wing has become known as one of the state’s dominant defensive players.
“His speed is next level,” Jasmine said. “At any given time, he’s the best defender, the fastest guy on the court. Another coach described him as a college defender. He knows he can recover because he has that speed.”