Tigers beat Wildcats, finding groove

Charged by a decisive win over rival Destrehan, Hahnville hopes to keep the district wins coming as they enter a pivotal stretch of games.

HHS (11-6) will host rival East St. John Friday night before a road game with Central Lafourche (11-5) and a home date with H.L. Bourgeois (15-4). 

Hahnville coach Rick Spring said the series of games are a way for his team to “prove it belongs” with a group of teams who have contended atop District 7-5A. 

“We’ll see where we stack up against the rest of our district over the next two weeks, and I’m curious to see how we respond,” Spring said. “East St. John, Central Lafourche, H.L. Bourgeois, those teams have kind of been the top dogs the past few years. We’re not going to see any cupcakes, that’s for sure.”

The 80-63 win at home over rival Destrehan last week will certainly stand as one to remember for the Tigers’ faithful and as a landmark victory in the story of Spring’s young program. HHS charged out, and then some, in a first quarter performance that ended with HHS leading 40-13. From there, Destrehan played with pride and made some pushes, but Hahnville was able to hold on for the 17-point win—and to establish a 1-0 start in District 7-5A competition. 

“We came out and from the opening tip played with a lot of emotion,” Spring said. “We shot the ball well, especially in that first quarter. No matter what you think might happen or how optimistic you may be, there’s no way you’re ever that optimistic and see that kind of start coming.

“Destrehan made a few runs, just as you’d expect. They’re prideful and that group wasn’t going to roll over. They didn’t give up, and we had to hold on, and we did that.”

Mason Aucoin led the Tigers with 35 points, shooting 11 of 16 from the field — and hitting 6 of 7 3-point attempts. Aucoin hit his first five shots and first five 3-point attempts. Christian McKinney scored 14. Nathan Kennedy added 11 while Lane Bolner dished out 13 assists. 

Spring said the atmosphere for the rivalry game proved to be a special one, something he told his players was something to appreciate.

“Our place was packed, standing room only,” Spring noted. “We had to turn people away. That kind of excitement for a Tuesday night district game, a rivalry, it’s not something you see everywhere else in the state. I told our kids, ‘Don’t take this for granted. You’re privileged to play in this type of environment, with a community so supportive of its athletics behind you.’”

Hahnville wasn’t able to carry that momentum into Friday night, however. The Tigers fell in a tight 72-70 game against visiting Sophie Wright that saw HHS overcome a 10-point deficit to take a fourth quarter lead, but ultimately be unable to hold on.

The Tigers were missing McKinney, who had the flu, but Spring said the Tigers’ performance was flat. 

“Taking nothing away from Wright, because they’ve got a darned good team,” Spring said. “But we were hoping to see some guys step up (in McKinney’s absence) and it didn’t materialize. They topped us getting to 50-50 balls, tripled us in offensive rebounding … every chance they had to make a play, they did. We didn’t match it. As well as we played Tuesday, it went the other way Friday.”

Against Wright, Aucoin scored 31 points while Kennedy added 17. 

HHS went 5 for 15 from the free throw line in the loss. 

TRIP BRINGS TEAM SUCCESS AND FUN — Spring planned his team’s midseason trip to compete at the Choctawhatchee High School holiday basketball tournament in Ft. Walton Beach, Fla. as a way for his team to bond away from the court, and it went exactly as he hoped.

“I think it was a great experience for the kids,” Spring said. “I’m not sure those guys slept over those 72 hours. They brought their Nintendo games … I think they were more excited about that than the basketball, to be honest. But they made a nice accounting of themselves on the court, too.

“It was a good way for everyone to get to know each other outside of school, which was the main purpose for scheduling the trip.”

The games do not count for power points, as they were contested against out of state competition. But the Tigers went 2-1 at the tourney, besting Houston County of Georgia and Evangelical Christian of Tennessee, by scores of 92-80 and 50-35, respectively.

About Ryan Arena 1691 Articles
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