Crowley Gents upend Notre Dame
CROWLEY – With the possible outright lead in District 4-3A hanging in the balance, Crowley High coach Derrick Boone knew his Gents had to be at their best Friday night.
And when they weren’t and the calls weren’t going the Gents’ way, Boone pulled back - literally.
The Gents built up an early lead, then stalled for the majority of the middle two quarters before taking a 39-20 victory over the visiting Notre Dame Pioneers.
“You know, I was worried about this game all day,” said Boone, whose team moved into sole possession of first place in the district (4-0) with Weslake’s loss to Iowa on Friday. “We were coming off three big district wins and I was worried about a letdown.
“I had to play a smart game. I couldn’t just let the guys go. I know a lot of people wanted to see an up and down game, but the game was getting real physical and the calls weren’t there so we had to slow it down.”
Crowley went on a 10-0 run to start the game but Notre Dame rallied to cut the lead to 14-6 at the end of the first quarter.
The Gents then scored four straight points to push the lead to 12.
And then came the stall.
With the Pios sitting in a zone defense, the Gents elected to hold the ball near midcourt.
Notre Dame coach Raymond Griffin didn’t budge and the Gents ate nearly four minutes off the clock without much resistance before taking a 21-8 halftime advantage.
“Basically, I believe that you can’t win the game in the first half and if we don’t turn the ball over twice in the final seconds, we’re down by maybe 10 going into the half,” said Griffin, whose squad fell to 2-18 overall and 0-4 in league play. “Ten is a very manageable number. It’s much more manageable than 20, which we ended up losing the game by when we did go out and play them man-to-man.
“To me, it was logical (not to go out and play them man). If you can’t guard someone man-to-man, it makes no sense to go out there and kill yourself in the first half and not give yourself a chance.”
Damon Malbrough extended the Gents lead with a layup to start the third quarter, but a layup by Notre Dame’s Charlie Mayeaux followed by Austin Bordelon’s 3-pointer cut the deficit to 10.
And Boone pulled back again.
“They cut the lead to 10 and we pulled it out again,” said Boone, whose squad killed another three and a half minutes off the clock. “But I told them when it got down to two minutes, it was time to go.”
And go they did.
The Gents (10-11) picked up five turnovers in the final minute and 55 seconds and outscored the Pios 10-0 to take a 33-13 cushion into the final frame.
The Pios abandoned the zone defense in the fourth quarter, but they were unable to overcome the deficit despite outscoring the Gents’ 7-6 in the final eight minutes.
“The effort that we gave was good,” said Griffin of his team. “The problem is, we’re still having trouble putting the ball in the hole. If we can’t do that, I don’t care how good your defense is, if you can’t make it go in the hole it’s going to be very difficult to win.”
Despite stalling for much of the contest, the Gents still had two players score in double figures. Damon Malbrough led the charge with 12 points while Andre Mills had 11. Danny Malbrough had eight points and Dorris Senegal added four. Charles Onezine and Dylan Montgomer each sored two.
Bordelond paced the Pios with seven points. Jermerrio Lollis added three while Christian Landry, C.J. Hundley and Charlie Mayeaux each had two.
“You know, it wasn’t a pretty win, but it was a win and that’s all that matters,” said Boone, whose team travels to Westake Tuesday to take on the Rams at 7 p.m. “As long as we play smarter and get better, I’m happy.”
Notre Dame will play host to South Beauregard on Tuesday.