Gents, Rebels advance to title game
MIDLAND – Notre Dame made it game for the first two quarters Wednesday in its semifinal contest against Crowley in the Midland Holiday Spectacular.
The Pios even led by as many as five points before the Gents rallied to take a 25-24 advantage at the break.
But then the bottom fell out.
The Gents, who began playing much more aggressively in the second half, outscored the Pios 49-12 over the final 16 minutes, ending the Pios’ hopes of an upset and rolling to a 71-36 victory.
The victory put the Gents in last night’s finals against host Midland. Details of that game were unavailable at press time.
“We weren’t playing our game in the first half,” said CHS coach Derrick Boone, whose squad improved to 8-6 overall with Wednesday’s victory. “We were waiting to react off of what they were giving us and we weren’t being the aggressor. We weren’t aggressive at all in the first half.”
That all changed in the second half.
The Gents went to a full court press that caused the Pios problems for the remainder of the game, forcing numerous turnovers that led to baskets in transition.
“They put a press on us and between that and us missing shots, it got us shook up and it just snowballed from there,” said ND coach Raymond Griffen, whose squad fell to 8-7 with the loss. “We’ve got to be able to take care of the ball, we’ve got to rebound the ball and we’ve got to make shots and we just weren’t able to do that tonight.”
Notre Dame trailed 30-26 with 5:35 remaining in the third quarter but then saw the Gents go on a 16-2 run to end the frame.
The Pios scored just once more in the quarter on a jumper from Austin Bordelon with 11 seconds left. The Gents answered with a 3-pointer at the buzzer by Andre Mills to extend their cushion to 46-28.
“That was a big third quarter for us,” said Boone. “We got a little more aggressive on defense and we forced a bunch of turnovers. Our defense made our offense and that got us going.”
It was pretty much the same story in the fourth quarter.
Notre Dame’s B.J. Vidrine stroked a 3-pointer to start the frame to cut the lead to 15 (46-31) but the Gents responded with a 14-0 run over the next two minutes, increasing the advantage to 60-31.
Crowley went on to outscore Notre Dame 11-5 in the final six minutes.
“You know, we played an excellent first half,” said Griffin. “Down by one to a team like Crowley, I was thrilled at halftime. But what happened was, when we came in at halftime, instead of using it as a time to come together and get ourselves tough to get ready to play the second half, we took it as a break.
“It was like, you can relax because it’s halftime. You relax for a minute and the type of things that happened tonight will continue to happen.”
Jerrell Andrus led a quartet of Gents in double figures on the night with 16 points. Andre Mills followed with 13 points and Danny and Damon Malbrough each scored 10.
“On any night, any of those guys could be the leading scorer,” said Boone. “Jerrell is doing a great job; Danny and Damon have been stepping up big and Mills is coming into his role.
“This is a young team, but they are learning the game and it is starting to come together. We are improving each game and that’s all I ask them to do.”
Also contributing in the victory were Dorris Senegal, Kaleb Cormier and Dylan Montgomery with six points each and Tuskani Figaro with four.
Kane Thibodeaux scored 10 points in the first half and led the Pios with 12 overall. Vidrine followed with eight points and Ricky Stoma added five.
Jeremy Smith and Drew Trahan scored four and three points, respectively, while Bordelon and Will Mahaffey each scored two.
In the second semifinal contest, the road to the title game was a bit rougher for the host Rebels.
Midland (15-5) led by as many as 15 in the second half and then held off a late rally to slip away with a 55-47 victory over Elton.
“We jumped out to a lead, but then we started fouling and their (Elton) penetration hurt us,” said MHS coach Todd Briley, whose team was in foul trouble before the second quarter even began. “And we missed a lot of easy layups tonight. But we were able to hit some big shots in crucial situations.”
Midland jumped out to a 12-2 lead four minutes into the contest and eventually took a 30-17 advantage at the break.
The Rebels forged ahead by 15 (37-22) with five minutes to go in the third quarter on an Allen Fontenot 3-pointer but Elton trimmed the lead to eight (43-35) heading into the final stanza.
Elton inched closer in the fourth when Ossie Lavan hit a jumper to get the Indians within three (47-44) with just under four minutes remaining.
But the Rebels responded with a layup in transition by Chase Vincent and a jumper from Allen Fontenot off a steal to push the lead back to seven.
Midland forced three more turnovers in the final minute and a half to seal the victory.
Fontenot led all scorers on the night with 21 points, including five 3-pointers.
Alan Vondenstein and Andrew Hains also hit double figures with 15 and 12 points, respectively. Vincent added four points and Jake Gautreaux scored three.
NOTE – Due to early deadlines because of the holidays, stories from the final day of the tournament will be featured in the Tuesday, Jan. 4 edition of the Crowley Post-Signal. However, results will be posted online following the games at Acadiaparishtoday.com.