For a Hahnville team that pushed No. 1 Thibodaux to its limit Tuesday night in front of a jam-packed crowd at R.K. Smith gymnasium, there’s no clearer way to describe the 17th seeded Tigers’ 70-68 second round loss.
Hahnville (21-14) led by nine with just under seven minutes left after a clutch Claudell Harris jumper. But Thibodaux chipped away before Rashad Winslow’s putback of his own missed free throw put Thibodaux ahead by four with just seconds remaining and all but spelled the end of Hahnville’s season—on a night that seemed destined for the HHS program to secure its biggest victory in years.
“At the end of the day, we have to make those plays,” said Hahnville coach Yussef Jasmine. They got an offensive rebound, a put back and that was the difference in the game. I think we matured … we showed we could compete with them and I thought we had a strong chance of winning. But they made more plays and made their free throws down the stretch.
“It’s a tough loss. Just tough to end the season like this.”
Key for Thibodaux (33-2) was the aggressive play of Marvin Robertson, who scored 10 points in the fourth quarter and continuously got to the foul line — Robertson sank eight of his 10 free throw attempts in the final quarter, en route to a team-high 17 points.
“We knew (Robertson and Kobi Johnson) were solid players and we gave up too many to (Robertson) down the stretch when we knew he’d be the guy to shoot the ball. You can’t do that and win games.”
It was a three point lead for HHS with 1:38 left when it forced Thibodaux into three missed shots on its ensuing possession, but Hahnville couldn’t secure the rebound before deflecting the final miss out of bounds. Rashad Winslow scored on the inbounds play to make it 66-65.
Hahnville was whistled for a travel at the other end as it tried to handle the ball and drain some clock. But the Tigers turned it over and Thibodaux’s J’Mari Carter put his team ahead 67-66. The Tigers’ Dylan Lorio drove to the basket but missed a contested shot and Winslow drew a foul.
Winslow made one free throw and missed the second, but rebounded his own miss and put the ball in to make it 70-66 with seconds remaining. Hahnville cut it to two with one second left, but the game was effectively over.
It was a back and forth game all night. Hahnville began to surge ahead late in the third quarter, which ended with a Marcel Byrd 3-pointer as time expired to put Hahnville ahead by five. Early in the fourth quarter, Claudell Harris sank a turnaround jumper to put Hahnville ahead nine.
“We had some advantages when we spread them out,” Jasmine said. “We were able to build that lead, but we just didn’t finish it off defensively.”
Briceson Harrell led HHS with 12 points. Dylan Lorio and Kaden Pierre each scored 11 and Takourin Grows and Tyren LeBeauf each scored 10 in a balanced effort.
Rashad Robinson scored 14 and Kobi Johnson 11 for Thibodaux.
Hahnville advanced to round two on the back of a 58-55 road victory at Lafayette. Claudell Harris led that effort with 19 points, while Kaden Pierre added 17.
Defensively, the Tigers held Lafayette’s dominant scorer, Kendrick Delahoussaye, to 17.
Jasmine said following his team’s playoff loss that as emotionally drained as he was, he had to be quick to remind his players of what they accomplished this season, successfully taking a step forward from last season’s return to the playoffs and first round exit.
“I’m frustrated, but you can’t just offset the progress we made all year. I let them know I’m proud of them,” Jasmine said. “But at the same time, you play this game to win. And I felt like we had it. It just wasn’t to be.”