Fourth quarter surge lifts Crowley Gents past Rayne
CROWLEY – Unlike their first meeting of the season, there were no big leads and no late rallies Tuesday when the Crowley Gents played host to intra-parish rival Rayne.
In the first game of the season, Crowley led by as many as 20 before Rayne rallied to take a 69-61 victory over the Gents in the Acadiana Tournament.
Tuesday’s game was tit-for-tat until the fourth quarter when the Gents went on a 15-0 run to take a 50-35 victory over the visiting Wolves.
“We knew this was a big game for us tonight,” said CHS coach Derrick Boone, whose team improved to 11-7 overall with the victory heading into Friday’s District 4-AAA opener at home against Westlake. “We were able to put it together there at the end and this was a good game for us.
“I told them before the game even started, this game wasn’t really about x’s and o’s, it was about pride.”
The key to the victory was Crowley’s defense, especially in the final eight minutes. The Gents forced Rayne into nine turnovers in the final frame and held the Wolves scoreless to close out the contest.
“We had a lack of poise in that fourth period,” said RHS coach Louis Handy, whose squad fell to 10-8 overall with the loss. “We played as if we were playing for the crowd rather than who we were playing against. The game of basketball involves strategy. We had a play of action and we didn’t follow it.”
Crowley scored nine points in the first three minutes of the fourth quarter and then spread the court, eating up two more minutes before Davante Bourque hit a layup with just under three minutes to play.
Rayne turned the ball over four times in the final two minutes and Crowley finished the game on back-to-back layups by Damon and Danny Malbrough.
“We did a good job of protecting the ball and we made good decisions in the fourth quarter,” said Boone. “We got off to a good start (in the fourth) and once we got out to a lead, we put the pressure on them and they kind of shutdown towards the end.”
Tuskani Figaro gave Crowley a spark early on by draining back-to-back 3-pointers to start the game, giving the Gents an 8-2 advantage with just over four minutes to in the opening frame.
However, Rayne battled back behind seven points from Darius Bonnom and trailed 12-7 at the end of the quarter.
The Wolves outscored the Gents 12-8 to cut the lead to 20-19 at the half.
Figaro caught fire again to start the second half, nailing three straight 3-pointers to give Crowley a 29-22 advantage just a minute and a half into the third quarter.
Again, Bonnom answered, scoring eight of his team-high 15 points. Brock Nolan score all four of his points in the frame as Rayne rallied to tie the game at 35-35.
“We played well at times,” said Handy. “I know we are capable, on occasion, to do the things we are supposed to do to play the game of basketball. But at times we lose our focus. We lose where we should be and put ourselves in a stressful situation.
“When you play, it’s like a race. I’m running neck-and-neck and then I let the guy get in front of me. Now, I’m going to spend more energy trying to catch him than I would if I were even with him or ahead of him. That’s what we do. We run nip and tuck, slightly ahead and then we let him get ahead and we have to exert more energy and now it becomes more pressure on the individual.”
Crowley also played well at times but also had a number of unforced turnovers that aided in Rayne’s comeback attempt.
“We played well in spurts,” said Boone. “At times, we played well, the way they were coached, and then at times we reverted back to what we were doing in the early part of the season.
“But this was a good game for us. We made a run, they made a run. But we never relinquished the lead and that was a good thing.”
Another good thing was the emergence of a long-range attack that had been missing early in the season. Figaro provided all of the fireworks with five 3-pointers and led all scorers with 18 points.
“Tuskani is a shooter and he’s been working really hard on his shot,” said Boone. “As far as percentage wise, he’s really a good shooter and he had a good night.”
The Gents again got offensive production out of nearly everyone on the roster.
Jerrell Andrus followed Figaro with 10 points while Davante Bourque and Damon Malbrough chipped in six each. Dylan Montgomery added three points; Jesse Harmon, Danny Malbrough and Kaleb Cormier each scored two, and Dorris Senegal rounded out the Gents’ offensive attack with one.
Michael Henry and Ryan Larry followed Bonnom with five points each, Nolan and Freddie Broussard each scored four.