Spring’s Tigers beginning to turn ‘good shots’ into ‘better’ shots

The Newman basketball tournament was “just what the doctor ordered” for his team, according to Hahnville boys basketball coach Rick Spring.

 While the Tigers went 1-2 officially at the tournament, the lone win coming over McMain by forfeit, the team’s losses to quality foes Brother Martin, 101-92, and McDonogh No. 35, 88-71, exposed and made clear to Spring’s players some things that needed tweaking, he said — specifically, that Hahnville is still a team learning how to finish games in a strong fashion.

“We really learned what we need to work on by playing those games,” Spring said. “Those two games, we led a good chunk of the time, but we couldn’t close it out. We need to learn how, if we’re going to take the next step.”

Last week, Hahnville (7-4) bounced back to bank two victories, a 98-65 home win over South Lafourche (4-5) and a 116-90 win over Crescent City (9-3), games in which Spring notes his team carried over strong first half play through the final buzzer — and hopes is a sign of some lessons learned and things to come. 

“That’s the hope,” Spring said. “Maybe that signals we’re getting better in that area. Hopefully we can keep that momentum moving in the right direction.”

The coming week will bring a change of pace for the Tigers: a trip to Fort Walton Beach, Fla., to participate in the Choctawhatchee High School holiday basketball tournament.

Spring said one of his first priorities upon accepting his position at Hahnville earlier this season was to attempt to schedule a trip of this nature for his team, saying he saw it as something positive to do for a group of seniors who have endured tenures of little stability, with four different coaches overseeing the program in the past four years.

“It’s a little team-building trip,” Spring said. “That’s the way we look at it. These games are out of state and they won’t count for power points or anything like that. We’ll go over there, play some ball, maybe hang out a little at the beach, do some shopping or see a movie. 

“We can do those things now, because when we get back, it’s time for district. Every game matters and we’ll have to approach our routine with a greater sense of urgency.”

Mason Aucoin has been a top scorer for Hahnville all season, but he’s been especially red hot of late, scoring 28 points in the win over South Lafourche and 36 points in the victory over Crescent City. The senior forward has stayed consistently among the area’s top scorers, as has teammate and senior guard Christian McKinney.

Spring said that his players are starting to learn the difference between a “good shot and a better shot” and the Tigers have been sharing the ball accordingly.

“I’ve had some teams where that recognition doesn’t develop or has been a problem, but this group has really bought in,” Spring said. “They’re seeing who’s shooting it well at practice and getting the ball to the hot hand during the game.”

Once Hahnville returns from the Florida trip, district play looms. Hahnville will get play in 7-5A started with a bang: a rivalry game against Destrehan on Jan. 5. 

The district as a whole, Spring said, won’t give anyone an easy time through. 

“It’s my first time in this district, but I’m certainly no stranger to these teams,” Spring said, noting previous matchups with Slidell and Salmen teams he’s coached with. “Each team has had a chance to be good in recent years. Hopefully, we can come out flying on all cylinders.)

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