With 4:10 remaining in the first quarter of Hahnville’s District 7-5A clash at home with East St. John Friday night, Claudell Harris Jr. sank a 3-pointer.
Then another. And another.
Those four first quarter 3s were just the beginning for Harris, who nailed a razor sharp 12 of 14 3-point attempts on a night he erupted for a 35 points, leading Hahnville to an 87-60 win over East St. John.
Harris said the night represented the best outside shooting effort of his prep career, and was quick to credit his teammates for creating shot opportunities for him. He said he knew early on his shooting touch was particularly on target.
“I kind of knew in the first quarter and told my teammates, ‘Keep finding me.’ And they kept finding me,” Harris said. “I wouldn’t have been able to hit the threes without them.”
Hahnville head coach Yussef Jasmine, now in his third year with the Tigers (13-8, 2-0) after departing the same position with East St. John, said Harris’ scoring outburst was the night’s highlight, but not entirely a surprise.
“We’re with him every day. We know he can shoot the ball like that,” Jasmine said. “So much goes into it … he was running the lane hard, making sure he was free instead of going to his spot and just standing there. We have people who can create and draw help, and that makes us a dangerous team … he got some nice, wide open looks and we ran some plays for him once he got it going. He can really shoot the ball.”
Hahnville’s Kaden Pierre scored 17 points, including three dunks that brought the packed home crowd at Hahnville to their feet. Tyren LeBeauf scored nine points. Takourin Grows and Dylan Lorio each added eight points for the Tigers.
For East St. John, Mark Meredith led the scoring effort with 19 points.
It was the second consecutive blowout for Hahnville to begin district play, after besting Terrebonne by 31 on Tuesday night.
A Marcel Byrd 3-pointer put Hahnville ahead 29-17 as the first quarter came to an end—Hahnville scored its final six baskets of the period from 3 point range. From there, the Tigers opened things up by getting the ball inside to Pierre, the team’s bruising center. He scored three baskets in a row, including a two-handed slam dunk in transition.
Harris hit back to back 3-pointers to make it a 20-point game, 45-25. HHS took a 45-27 lead into halftime, and increased its lead to 23 at one point.
East St. John (2-10, 0-2) fought back to make it a 15 point deficit late in the third quarter, but Hahnville put things away for good with a 19-4 run that included – you guessed it – three more Harris shots from downtown.
“We really just needed to limit turnovers and play better help defense,” Harris said of the late run. “Our philosophy is to pressure the ball through our help defense and when we do that well, we make it almost impossible to score.”
The Tigers looked to Harris throughout the night once he got going. Jasmine said when the Tigers are sharing the ball and passing like they did on this night, “it’s pretty to watch.”