Hahnville has built a reputation as a strong defensive basketball team over head coach Arrianna Smith’s head coaching tenure with the Lady Tigers, and it was on full display in its rivalry battle with Destrehan at R.K. Smith gymnasium Friday night.
HHS scored an 82-39 victory over the Ladycats behind a withering full court press and the transition offense it generated for the Tigers (13-4, 1-0), who as result of the decisive win open District 7-5A play with a victory.
Paceley Williams scored 19 points to lead Hahnville. Niara Simmons scored 12, with 10 of those points coming in the first quarter to help propel the Tigers to an early lead. Kamryn Bartholomew added nine, while Danae Lorio and Kori Joseph each scored six.
After a slow offensive start for Hahnville’s first handful of possessions, the Tigers began finding the mark, scoring 20 in the first quarter and 23 in the second. HHS held Destrehan to six first quarter points and 11 in the second to take a commanding 43-17 lead into the break.
“It was all about how we played on defense,” said Simmons. “The way we played at that end determined how we played on offense. When we get stops it helps us get out for fast break scores.”
Smith said the Tigers got out to a sluggish start in its previous game, a 55-44 loss to Northshore Monday at the Haynes tournament. It may have been a brief concern again on Friday as the first six Hahnville possessions came up empty. But from there, Smith saw little from her players to dislike.
“The first couple of minutes were a little irritating, because I know what we’re capable of doing and we start with a bunch of turnovers and missed shots,” Smith said. “Maybe it had to do with nerves, but once we settled down and got into our press, we got ourselves going. We played good defense and got out to a lead … The press has been our bread and butter, and it carries over into offense, too.”
For Destrehan, Breion Richard scored a game high 20 points – she scored every point for the team in the second quarter, in fact. Ta’Lynn Yankish scored six.
The young Ladycats (6-11, 0-1) struggled to break down the Tigers’ full court pressure, a tough defense to crack for a group of players still garnering experience.
“Pressure’s always going to be difficult … if you have one or two good ballhandlers or people who can move to the middle to break the press, you’re good to go. We’re working on that,” said Destrehan coach Meghan Stock. “We’re a young team and working our way back up.
“Hahnville’s very good. They shot it well all night, even with people in their face. Our girls fought hard the entire time and I’m proud of them for leaving it all out there.”
For Hahnville, the win continues their strong play to start the season. Despite the loss to Northshore, the Tigers had a good showing at the Haynes tournament, going 2-1 with decisive wins over Ben Franklin, 54-27, and Kenner Discovery, 69-20.