Tigers miss playoffs after late lull

A promising season in Hahnville coach Rick Spring’s first year with the team ended in disappointment when the Tigers failed to qualify for the postseason, finishing just outside of the top 32 teams in Class 5A power points.

HHS lost its final four games, all against district foes whom went on to qualify for the postseason, dropping the Tigers to No. 35 in power points as of the season’s conclusion.

“It cuts both ways,” Spring said. “Playing those teams gets you ready for the postseason, but that’s only if you make it through the gauntlet. It’s a great environment to play in with the crowds and the interest all of the teams generate each night, but with that you have to be ready to play.”

The Tigers posted a winning mark, nonetheless, at 15-13 in Spring’s first season (5-7 in District 7-5A play).

The veteran coach said that although the Tigers didn’t meet all of their goals for the season, his senior players should walk away with their heads held high and the knowledge that they laid the foundation for future success.

“This has been a great group of seniors to work with,” Spring said. “Their work ethic and approach to the game was fantastic. They mentored our younger players and were extremely coachable. These guys have been through four coaches in four years, but you’d have never known that given how they approached the game.”

The final stretch of losses were a microcosm of the season, in many ways, for Hahnville. The Tigers lost by scores of six, seven, four and three.  Nine of the Tigers’ losses this season came by single digits, and all of their losses came against teams with winning records. Just eight of Hahnville’s opponents this season finished with a losing mark.

“You look at almost all of our losses, and they came down to one or two possessions where it got away from us,” Spring said. “At the end of the season, if we win one of those, we probably get in. But it came down to a handful of plays each time where we didn’t make the plays we needed to and the other team did.”

One of the most encouraging things, he said, was seeing the rapid growth of some of the team’s key players this season. Mason Aucoin, for example, played sparingly as a junior before exploding to score 24 points per game and post multiple 30 point games this season. Christian McKinney also had a strong season as an explosive scorer. And junior Raylon Hardy is one Spring will be glad to bring back next season.

“His evolution has been fun to watch,” Spring said of Hardy. “From where we began the season to the end, he became a true quality point guard, and that’s a testament to him.”

Spring also noted the enjoyment he had from being able to coach his stepson, senior guard Lane Bolner, who transferred from Salmen to play his senior season at Hahnville.

“That was special for me,” Spring said. “He was like having an extra coach on the floor. He was coming off playing in the state championship with Salmen, and his experience there brought a big positive for us.”

Spring believes the future of the program is bright, though retooling for next season will offer some challenges. Six seniors will graduate this year, Spring noting that those players accounted for 65 of the 80 points per game the team averaged this season.

But he also notes help is on the way and that the JV and eighth grade teams and players showed plenty of promise.

“Things are looking up, I believe that for sure,” Spring said.

In Hahnville’s 79-76 season closing loss to Thibodaux, Aucoin scored 30 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. Bolner scored 14, Hardy, 12 and McKinney, 11.

Against Central Lafourche in a 75-68 loss at home, Aucoin scored 23 points and grabbed eight rebounds, while McKinney and Hardy each scored 14.

In an 80-76 loss at H.L. Bourgeois, Aucoin scored 31 points, while Bolner and McKinney each added 13.

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