Hahnville lost for the first time in District play Friday night against rival East St. John at home, 43-39, but bounced back Tuesday back in its gym with a 47-38 win over Thibodaux.
The Tigers are now 4-1 in District 7-5A play, highlighted in part by a victory over archrival Destrehan last week. The Lady Tigers are 12-8 overall and are looking to round into form for playoff time, with an eye on once again rising to the top of 7-5A on the way there. That will make a Jan. 31 rematch with ESJ particularly key, but there’s much work to do in order to get there with just a single district loss, as there are four district battles to go before then.
A rising Destrehan squad battled hard against rival Hahnville last week, but the Lady Tigers’ defense proved the difference in a 41-33 victory.
Saige Stewart scored 16 and Dihlynn Mitchell scored 10 to lead the Tigers. Paige Friloux added 8. For the Wildcats, Koi Ursin scored 16 to lead her team while A’maya Armstrong added 11.
Playing without a pair of starters in Ryli Martin and Alaejah Jupiter, the Tigers needed others to step up to fill the void. That they did.
“I think we came out with a lot of nerves in the beginning … down two people in your lineup, you’re stressing whether you can pull it off,” said HHS head coach Arrianna Smith. “The girls did an excellent job tonight. Saige I thought did well and really impacted us on defense. Dihlynn Mitchell played really well. Really, team wide, everyone played together and we came out with the win.”
The Tigers dug in defensively in the third quarter after a strong first half led Destrehan to carry a 19-17 lead into halftime. Hahnville held the Wildcats scoreless in the third quarter, outscoring DHS 16-0 to seize control of the game.
“I think we’ve been communicating better on defense and getting a lot of stops – and that opens things up for us to score,” said Stewart.
Stewart said her team kept its composure in front of a rowdy rivalry game crowd.
“We didn’t let that get to us,” she said.
Once HHS made its run, Smith said she felt good entering the fourth but also understood Destrehan wasn’t going to go away easily.
“The third was that turning point and we held after that, but we know Destrehan will keep fighting, so we had to do the same,” Smith said.
Destrehan, meanwhile, has made a big leap this season under first-year Wildcats head coach Twalla Powell. The Wildcats are 13-7 thus far with a 3-2 mark in 7-5A play, after winning nine games over the entirety of last season.
Powell said on Tuesday, her team executed early but once Hahnville started gaining steam, it was difficult to reclaim that level of play.
“They came out in the second half and hit a couple of threes … we lost momentum and momentum is everything in this game,” Powell said.
On the season, though, the Wildcats have plenty of momentum.
“We’ve gone all out at practice and stress to the girls to play hard, smart and together,” Powell said. “We did a lot of strength training in the offseason and I think that helped. We’ve been more focused and in the moment.”