Hahnville continues rolling, gets ready for district showdown with Destrehan

Hahnville's Aaliyah Lorio boxes out for a rebound in the Tigers' first meeting with Destrehan this season.

For the past two months, Hahnville has been nothing short of a bulldozer on the basketball floor.  

The Lady Tigers are 15-1 in their past 16 games, and the majority of those victories have not been by close margins. Joshua Bellaire has the Tigers rolling in his first season as the team’s head coach after taking the program’s helm from Arrianna Smith, who stepped down from the job after last school year. 

Hahnville (20-4, 7-1) has but one blemish over those past 16 games – and the chance to avenge it comes Friday night. It will not be easy: District 7-5A rival Destrehan will host Hahnville, a rematch of their first meeting which saw DHS control the game on the way to a 51-29 victory.

The Tigers’ loss in that game represents the one loss between the two teams in district play this far. So beyond the rivalry aspect, Friday’s game has potentially massive stakes in the District 7-5A championship race. If Destrehan wins, it will have the inside track to earning its first district crown since the program’s 2016-17 unbeaten state championship season. If Hahnville wins, it keeps its own district championship hopes alive and would pull into a tie with the Wildcats atop the district standings. 

“We know the magnitide of this game,” said Bellaire. “I think everyone does. From a strategic standpoint, we don’t want to be too high or too low as we approach this, but we know what’s on the line here. Destrehan has a very good team that’s well-coached. Their gym is a tough place to play, so nothing is going to come easy.”

Bellaire believes the Tigers didn’t play close to their best game in the first meeting, and says correcting that will take a teamwide effort, starting with him. 

“I have to do a better job as a coach of having them ready to play – I don’t feel like I did that last time out,” Bellaire said. “It starts with a better effort from me to have our team ready to go.”

That’s been a rarity for Hahnville this season. The Tigers have put numerous teams away early this season – the team’s most recent effort saw it suffocate Terrebonne defensively in a 55-17 win, and that effort has not been uncommon thus far this season. The loss to Destrehan was Hahnville’s only loss by double-figures this season. 

Bellaire believes the team began finding its stride at its annual tournament in early December. A 53-49 victory over a strong Edna Karr team represented a game that Bellaire believes created a far more confident group. 

“Karr is a super-talented team and well-coached … that game went down to the wire,” Bellaire said. “You could see things coming together that night. The girls started to work some things out … things started clicking for us there.”

The Tigers sport a deep and talented roster that attacks ballhandlers defensively and provides a balanced scoring punch at the offensive end. Senior Saige Stewart is Hahnville’s leading scorer. Dihlynn Mitchell is a major defensive catalyst and ballhandler. Paige Friloux gives the Tigers a post presence. Aaliyah Lorio, Georgia Alfred, Amber Edler and Briyell Dent have been strong senior leaders.

“It’s a true team effort. I’m just blessed to have the chance to coach a very talented young group – a special group, and those don’t come around very often. They have great chemistry. They love playing together and it shows.”

Hahnville faced off with H.L. Bourgeois on Monday and emerged with a dramatic 50-48 victory. Stewart scored 12 points and notched three steals, Friloux scored 12 to go with 13 rebounds and Lorio scored 11 points and had three assists to lead the Tigers.

In Hahnville’s recent 59-52 road win over De La Salle, Alfred scored 13 points and had five rebounds, Mitchell scored 13 points to go with six steals and Lorio scored 11 points and made three assists in the win for the Tigers.

 

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