West Monroe wins defensive battle, eliminates Hahnville

Glenn Grover
Hahnville's Glenn Grover in the lane against West Monroe.

A 4-point play by Landon Powell helped West Monroe establish control of a defensive slugfest at Hahnville, as the 18th seeded Rebels eliminated the 15th seeded Tigers 51-45 in a first round playoff game in Boutte Friday night.

West Monroe’s length and size inside gave Hahnville fits all night, while in turn the Tigers’ quickness gave the Rebels trouble of their own. The game was tight all night long—neither team led by more than 6 at any point. West Monroe (20-14) led 9-8 after the first quarter, and the teams were tied at halftime and at the end of the third quarter.

A Hahnville team that’s been able to spread the floor and sink threes all season long found the outside shot hard to come by on Friday. The Tigers made just one 3-pointer in the first half and only three total in the game.

“(It came down to) their length,” said Hahnville coach Yussef Jasmine. “They were long and all of them were getting out there. There were not a lot of open shots, we couldn’t get a rhythm going. First half, we got driving lanes and dumped the ball off and missed easy shots.  You can’t miss easy shots and free throws and that was the difference in the game.”

Langston Powell scored a game-high 20 points to lead West Monroe. Kyron Fields scored 12.

For Hahnville (21-11), Dylan Lorio scored 10, while Kendall Pierre and Alonge McClain added nine and eight, respectively.

With 3:32 left, West Monroe led 40-39 when Landon Powell drew a foul as he sank a corner 3-pointer. He hit the free throw to make it 44-39.

Hahnville battled back when Glenn Grover scored four of his team’s next five points, going coast to coast for a layup and then driving in for another basket to tie the game with 1:42 left.

But West Monroe kept Hahnville from seizing control. Langston Powell sank two free throws to push his team back ahead 46-44. After an offensive foul with a minute left gave Hahnville the ball back, Lorio cut to the basket and got the ball out of a timeout, but West Monroe blocked his shot to regain possession. Langston Powell sank two more free throws and Hahnville could never get within a single score again.

West Monroe coach Kyle Hill said the game was played in the halfcourt style favored by his team.

“Hahnville’s district gets up and down the floor, we kind of come from a district where we play a ‘punch you in the face’ style of game,” Hill said. “We told our kids, if we get into that back and forth, up and down game, we’re playing into their hands, but if we can get this game in the halfcourt, we have a really good chance.”

Even so, he credited the Tigers for being up to the task defensively themselves.

“I hope our length bothered them as much as their matchup zone bothered us,” Hill said. “They’re well-coached and their kids played extremely hard.”

For Jasmine, the outcome was bittersweet. Though he wished his Tigers weren’t through this season, he said he was proud of a team that came together to host a playoff game for the first time since 2010.

“There’s a lot to be proud of,” said Jasmine, who just concluded his first season as coach of the Tigers. “This was the biggest crowd we had all year and I think we did enough to win them over. We played with energy and passion and I think they saw Hahnville basketball is different now.

“The good thing is, the guys we have who are coming back, they taste this. They can feel it … the kids have been working so hard, you hate to see it end here. But it was a great season and we’ll be back.”

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