Lady Tigers set to host Northshore in opening round

Dihlynn Mitchell of Hahnville.

After two straight losses, Hahnville had everything to play for in its final game of the regular season at H.L. Bourgeois – the District 7-5A crown was on the line as well as a bit of momentum to propel the Lady Tigers into the playoffs. 

Mission accomplished. 

Saige Stewart scored 21 points to lead the way as Hahnville defeated Bourgeois 65-43 to clinch the district championship. Hahnville and Destrehan tied atop the league, each finishing with two losses and splitting the head-to-head matchups between the schools. HHS head coach Joshua Bellaire said district tiebreaker rules go to the higher seed in power rating – in this case, Hahnville, which earned the No. 12 seed in the Division I playoffs. Destrehan earned the 16th – both will host opening round games. 

The Tigers (23-5) will host Northshore in round one at 7 p.m. Thursday in Boutte. Bellaire said the final game of the season was exactly the way he hoped for his team to get ready for the playoffs. 

“My girls put in a lot of work and a lot of time down the stretch – we got really focused and we were able to close the season the way we wanted to,” said Bellaire. “We dropped two back to back, lost those in the fourh quarter … I felt like we didn’t do enough adjustments to make sure we made the plays we needed to in the end. So this last game, I wanted to make sure we were ready to play, and the girls were – we started off fast and never looked back.”

Stewart, as she’s been all season, was strong for her team, also dishing out five assists to go with her game-high point total. 

“She’s in a good rhythm offensively for us,” said Bellaire. “She’s knocking down shots and making some big plays.”

Bellaire recalled back to Hahnville’s double-overtime victory at East St. John where Stewart sank a tough contested three to extend the game to O.T.

“We needed it and she hit nothing but net,” Bellaire said. “She makes those kinds of shots for us. Every time the team needs her, she’s there. That’s all you could ever ask for as a coach … Saige is there night in and night out.”

The two recent losses, meanwhile, had snapped what was an eight-game winning streak for Hahnville – a 54-43 loss at home to Thibodaux and a 50-42 non-district loss to Warren Easton.

“I look at it as it’s better to get that out the way now than have it happen in the playoffs,” said Bellaire. “You look and see what happened in those games and make adjustments. It made that last win all the more important, since you never want to back into the playoffs with three losses in a row. It was really important to go in on the right track.”

Northshore (21-12) enters as the No. 21 seed in Division I. Four forfeited games to begin the season for the Panthers could indicate this is a tougher matchup than the seeding would indicate, however – the team would be 25-7 if not for those – and the team is entering the playoffs on a five-game winning streak. 

DESTREHAN EARNS 16TH SEED, WILL HOST – Destrehan, meanwhile, is readying for its own round one game today as it hosts No. 17 seed Fontainebleau at 6 p.m.

The Wildcats have been remarkably consistent following a 4-5 start to the season – DHS is 13-2 since, with its only losses in back-to-back games to Thibodaux and Hahnville last month. Destrehan has won four in a row, including wins over Bourgeois, Central Lafourche, Terrebonne and a regular season ending 45-40 non-district victory over Salmen. 

Fontainebleau enters with a 22-8 mark. The No. 17 seed bounced back from three recent losses to close the season with wins over Mt. Carmel and Hannan. 

 

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