Gents outlast Iowa
BY CHRIS QUEBEDEAUX
CROWLEY – The Crowley Gents almost got a taste of their own medicine Tuesday in their District 4-AAA showdown with the Iowa Yellow Jackets.
In their first meeting this year the Crowley Gents rallied from a 16-point halftime deficit to upend the Iowa Yellow Jackets, 74-72, in late December.
Tuesday, the Yellow Jackets nearly returned the favor.
Iowa trailed by as many as 25 points before cutting the host Gents’ lead to five with just two minutes remaining in the game.
Fortunately, the Gents were able to withstand the charge by hitting key free throws down the stretch to slip away with a 63-47 victory.
“We had some lapses defensively in the second half and we allowed them (Iowa) to get back into the game,” said CHS coach Derrick Boone, whose squad improved to 15-9 overall and 4-0 in District 4-3A play with the victory. “We kind of relaxed with the big lead and they took advantage of that. That’s why the game is four quarters and you have to play the entire four quarters to win.”
Crowley’s defense was nearly flawless in the first half, limiting Iowa (15-10, 3-1) to just four points in the first quarter and 11 in the second.
The Gents offense was just as impressive, scoring at will to take a 36-15 advantage into the break behind 11 points from Therion Beverly and 10 from Michael Harmon.
“Tonight was basically a tale of two halves,” said IHS coach Roland LaCombe. “They (Crowley) came out really strong and kind of caught us off guard.”
Crowley continued to cruise along early in the second half, taking a 44-19 advantage courtesy of eight straight points from Jerrell Andrus.
However, Iowa responded with a 13-4 run over the final four minutes of the period to cut the lead to 48-32 heading into the final stanza.
Andrus and Harmon scored back-to-back baskets to start the fourth quarter, pushing the lead back to 20 at 52-32.
But Iowa rallied back once again, scoring 15 unanswered points in a four-minute span to cut the lead to 52-47 with just under three minutes remaining.
With Crowley stalling the ball, Iowa was forced to foul and the Gents hit six free throws down the stretch to seal the victory.
“We felt like we had a shot in the second half,” said LaCombe. “We battled hard, but that early deficit was just too much to overcome. You can’t dig yourself into that deep of a hole and expect to come back.”
Although Boone was pleased with the victory, he is award that his team has to improve on Tuesday’s performance in order to continue their nine-game winning streak.
“Luckily, we played an excellent first half tonight to give us that cushion so when we hit that bump in the second half, it kind of saved us,” said Boone. “We have to use this second half as a learning tool. I applaud the first half, but that’s what we are supposed to do. We have to get back to work now and try to correct the things we did wrong and get ready for our next game.”
Andrus led a trio of Gents scoring in double figures with 20 points. Beverly followed close behind with 17 points while Harmon had 15 points and 15 rebounds.
Also contributing in the victory were Tuskani Figaro and T.J. Clement with four points each and Henterrio Guidry with two.
Wayne Stansberry paced the Yellow Jackets with 14 points and Charles Robertson had 12.
Iowa avoided a clean sweep in the girls’ game when the Lady Yellow Jackets rallied past the CHS Ladies, 47-44.
Once again, turnovers were pivotal in the contest. Crowley gave the ball away 34 times, seven times in the final two minutes.
“The turnovers took their toll on us again,” said CHS coach Alton Allen. “If you 34 turnovers, it should be a blowout but we just lost by three. If we could just limit our mental mistakes, we’d be alright.”
Kara Wilridge and Mercedes Rogers each scored 17 points in the loss and Akeela Dugar had four. Sara Woodard added three, Bianca Anderson had two and Arlissa Byers had one.