Northside slips past Hackberry for District 7-C crown; Lady Pios edge Jennings

LACASSINE – Northside Christian’s Joseph Trahan was relatively quite for most of the Warriors’ playoff game for first place in District 7-C Tuesday evening.

The sophomore forward had scored just four points, all in the first half, and was a virtual non-factor heading into the fourth quarter against league rival Hackberry.

But with the clock winding down and his team trailing by one, 33-32, Trahan came up with one of the biggest plays of year for the Warriors just when his team needed him the most.

Trahan took a pass in the lane from Josh Wheeler and hit a layup with 22 seconds remaining, lifting the Warriors to a 34-33 victory and the league championship.

“We knew we could take those guys one-on-one so we just spaced them out and got in the gaps,” said NCS coach Byron Starks. “Josh saw the gap, penetrated and saw Joe on the backside and Joe knocked it down.”

“That was an all-out team play; that was what we call an 11-man drill decision. We work on that everyday in practice and it paid off tonight.”

Hackberry did have a one last chance but they were unsuccessful on a shot from the perimeter. A putback attempt with one second remaining was blocked by Wheeler to seal the Warriors victory.

“This was a great game for us heading into the playoffs,” said Starks. “It had that playoff atmosphere to it and Hackberry has given us good competition each time we have played them. And it creates a good environment for guys to prepare for the playoffs.”

For Northside, Tuesday’s game was a bit uncharacteristic offensively. The Warriors had been averaging nearly 62 points per game in their last eight contests before being held to 34 by Hackberry..

“The more you experience it (big games), the better you get at it,” said Starks. “Tonight, the excitement and the nerves kind of got to us and we didn’t shoot real well.

“You know, they want to win the ballgame and as much as you try to take some of that pressure off of them, they still know the importance of this ballgame. I think we were just a little too anxious at times.”

Although Northside’s offense wasn’t clicking, its defense helped keep the Warriors in the game. They forced 18 turnovers on the night, including six in the fourth quarter.

“We got our hands on a number of (loose) balls tonight,” said Starks. “We got some key stops at crucial points. Josh had a few steals, Kade Miller got his hands on some balls. Those are the things that paid off for us in the long run. Even though we weren’t getting them early on, we got some key stops and rebounds late in the game.”

Northside went 0-7 from the floor and had one turnover in the first four minutes of the fourth quarter.

But Hackberry was unable to capitalize on the Warriors’ misfortunes. They committed three turnovers of their own and led by just three (30-27) with 3:54 remaining.

Northside had a chance to cut into the lead shortly after, but the Warriors missed two free throws and then after a stop, they missed the front end of a one-and-one.

After trading free throws with just under two minutes to play, Rogers drove the lane and hit a mid-range jumper to cut the lead to 33-32 with 46 seconds left.

Northside’s fullcourt pressure on the ensuing inbounds play paid dividends, leading to a turnover that led to their game-winning possession.

Overall, it was a total team effort for the Warriors.

Rogers and Miller led the way with eight and seven points, respectively.

Gotte and Trahan followed with six points each; B.J. Starks added four; and Wheeler had three.

“This was a real big win,” said Starks. “It was a big win for our program. Going into the playoffs with that kind of momentum, as ugly of a game as it was, it gives a team confidence and for us, that is big.”

Notre Dame 32

Jennings 25

MIDLAND – The Notre Dame Lady Pios outscored Jennings 6-2 in the fourth quarter to slip away with a seven-point victory over the Lady Dogs Tuesday evening in a special playoff game to determine the second-place team out of District 4-3A.

The Lady Pios and the Lady Dogs had split their first two meetings during the regular season with each team winning on their homecourt.

In the rubber match Tuesday, the Lady Pios jumped out to a 9-8 advantage in the first quarter and took a 17-13 lead into the break.

Jennings cut the lead to 26-23 in the third quarter behind seven points from star guard Jayln Johnson.

Mallory Chiasson drilled a 3-pointer in the fourth quarter to extend the Lady Pios lead. She also knocked down a free throw and Gabbie Romero hit both her shots from the charity stripe to seal the victory.

Romero led the Lady Pios with eight points and Mary Charles had seven. Alex Miller pitched in five points and Katherine Kirsch, Marie Ledet and Sam Lyons each finished with four.

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