Figaro powers Gents past Iowa
IOWA – For an uptempo offense that thrives on running the lanes and getting points in transition, the Crowley Gents have not really had to rely much on the outside shot.
But, if required, they are more than capable of knocking down shots beyond the arch, as Tuskani Figaro proved Tuesday night.
Figaro, a junior guard, knocked down eight 3-pointers and hit two clutch free throws, the latter with three seconds remaining, to lift the Gents to a 70-69 road victory over Iowa in a key District 4-AAA matchup.
The Gents (15-7) took the outright lead in league play with the victory, improving to 4-0 heading into Friday’s home game against Church Point.
Iowa fell to 14-8 overall and 3-1 in district play with the loss. They play host to Eunice Friday.
“We’ve been telling him for a while now to shoot the three,” said CHS coach Derrick Boone of Figaro, who missed his first four shots from 3-point range in the first quarter. “The last couple games, he’s been feeling it and he’s been shooting it. We kind of forced him to shoot it early on,but once he got in a groove, he started knocking them down.”
As solid as Figaro was from the outside, his biggest shots came from the charity stripe with three seconds left and the Gents clinging to a 68-66 lead.
Figaro had missed two free throws with just under 20 seconds remaining that would have put the Gents up by four.
This time, he drained both shots.
The two freebies proved to be key when McKenzie Dunlap hit a running 3-pointer from near midcourt at the buzzer.
“Big-time players seem to always get a chance to redeem themselves and he did just that,” said Boone of Figaro’s free throws.
Ironically enough, Crowley’s free-throw shooting almost proved costly. The Gents went 9-for-21 from the stripe on the night and hit just three of nine freebies in the final eight minutes.
With the Gents leading 68-66, Jerrell Andrus missed the front end of a 1-and-1 with 31 seconds left in the game. Figaro and Andrus then each missed a pair of free throws over the next 23 seconds.
“We had a chance to put the game away with around a minute to go and we struggled at the line,” said Boone. “In games like this, you have to make those free throws. That’s one area we have to improve on.”
With starting forward Dylan Montgomery sidelined due to foul trouble early on and Andrus on the bench after being poked in the eye, Iowa made a run in the third quarter. The Yellow Jackets led twice in the frame, but Figaro answered each time with 3-pointers to tie the game, including a buzzer beater from the corner that knotted the score at 52-52 heading into the fourth quarter.
Figaro, who led all scorers on the night with 30 points, also hit a 3-pointer to start the fourth quarter.
“When 34 (Montgomery) went out with foul trouble and 1 (Andrus) went out with an eye injury, we tried to turn it up,” said IHS coach Roland LaCombe. “But Figaro kept them in the game.
“We just didn’t finish. I think it was a lack of focus. I felt good with three minutes to go, but we couldn’t finish.”
Andrus also played a huge role in the victory and was the only other Gent in double figures with 16 points. Dorris Senegal and Davante Bourque followed with seven and six points, respectively.
Damon Malbrough added five points, Montgomery scored four and Andre Mills rounded out the Gents’ offensive output with two.
Charles Robertson paced the Yellow Jackets with 18 points and Aaron Guillory scored 16. Dunalp also hit double figures with 14 points.
Iowa avoided the sweep by taking a 47-42 victory over the CHS Ladies in the opening game of the doubleheader.
The victory avenged a 26-point loss to the Ladies in the district opener two weeks ago.
“We had a lot going against us tonight,” said CHS coach Alton Allen, who had three starters foul out midway through the fourth quarter with his team leading 35-30. “I think we let what was going on with the referees get in our head and we missed some opportunities down the stretch.
“When you’re on the road, you’re not going to get many opportunities, but the ones you do have, you have to take advantage of them and we weren’t able to do that.”
Crowley (15-9, 3-3) trailed by just one, 43-42, with 17 seconds remaining but Iowa closed out the game by sinking two free throws before hitting a layup at the buzzer.
The Ladies battled foul trouble the entire contest and sent the Lady Jackets to the line for 31 free throw attempts on the night. Iowa shot 20 free throws in the fourth quarter alone.
The Ladies also struggled, connecting on 14 of their 25 attempts. More importantly, they missed six free throws in the final frame.
“When you look at our (free throw) percentage, it’s not all that bad,” said Allen. “But we missed some big ones in the fourth quarter. In a game like this, you have to hit those free throws.”
Kara Wilridge and Sara Woodard paced the Ladies with 15 and 10 points, respectively. Raven Ardoin followed with seven points and Isis Broussard scored four.
Also scoring for the Ladies were Mercedes Rogers with three, Arlissa Byers with two and Beverly Anderson with one.