Rebels ‘outmanned,’ fall to Castor
By: Jeannine LeJeune
There was no comeback story tonight in store for the Rebels Friday night.
After fighting to play keep up with Castor for most of the night, Midland fell apart in the final 12 minutes of play and found itself on the losing end of a 52-41 game, ending the Rebels hopes of returning to the Cajundome for the second straight year. The Rebels finished the year with a 24-10 record.
“I thought we fought really hard, but we were outmanned tonight,” said Todd Briley, MHS head coach. “We had some chances, but the kids gave it everything they had; it just wasn’t good enough tonight.
“All in all, we had a great year, and I’m proud of these kids.”
It wasn’t for a lack of effort, particularly early on, as Midland and Castor spent the better part of the game switching the lead, errors and big plays between each other. Unfortunately for the home team, the Rebels imploded late in the third and early in the fourth quarters and before Midland knew it, the biggest lead of the night lay with the Tigers and CHS refused to hand it back to Midland.
“I think we got a little discouraged,” said Briley. “I was a little disappointed in that, because we had chances in the fourth quarter. I had some guys that if they would have sprint the lanes more, we could have snuck two or three layups. That’s six points and that would have made a difference.”
It was evident early that the Class B quarterfinals showdown would be a nail biter and defensive battle. It was also obvious early on that Castor had scouted the Rebels well.
“Everything we tried to run, except when we would spread out our offense and open up the floor, they would stop,” said Briley. “It looked like they had us down and saw everything coming.”
Midland kept the game close in the first, never down more than four points, and was right in the mix down 7-9 as the clock struck triple zeroes the first time. Both teams came out of the gates energized and seemed to be near mirror images of each other, trading layups, steals and miscues. Perhaps the biggest hindrance for MHS early on though was the lack of second chance opportunities and the difficulty converting shots into points on its first shots.
The second quarter appeared to be more of the same for both teams as Rebels kept it close but could not seem to find the hoop enough to pull ahead. Finally, however, shots for Midland began to fall, primarily at the hands of Michael Primeaux, and the Rebels picked up a two point lead midway through the second. The lead would be short lived as CHS recaptured the lead less than two minutes later. The close game and momentum continued until the half, where Midland was down 15-20.
“I felt like the only way we could win was if we got some steals and things like that. We did (get those), but we didn’t get enough,” said Briley.
Halftime adjustments would prove to be successful early in third as Midland, once down five points, found itself up five midway through the quarter. But just as Midland began to feel a momentum swing and just as it appeared history was repeating itself in the Rebels’ gym, Midland’s shooting went cold and Castor would go on an 11-0 run to end the quarter.
“When we got the lead, we made a couple of bad shots that turned right into layups on the other end,” said Briley. “When we got that five point lead, we really could have just spread it out, but we didn’t change gears into slowing the game down. We tried to keep going too fast and it just totally backfired on us.
Frustration boiled over for the Rebels as Castor’s third quarter lead grew in the next frame and suddenly the Rebels had difficulty making wide open shots and were leaving members of Castor’s squad wide open. Midland would play until the buzzer sounded, though, and every now and then would find some new life thanks in large part due to Primeaux.
The Rebels were also without its top scorer for the season for most of the game as Allen Fontenot’s injury kept him sidelined for most of the game. In fact, his limited minutes were reserved for early in the first, midway through the third and right at the end of the fourth.
“I’m proud of Allen and the kind of leader he was,” said Briley. “It’s just unfortunate the way it ended for him.
“He couldn’t play (tonight), but having Allen full speed would have made a huge difference. Everything we’ve done all year went through him, so not having him made it tough.”
Primeaux led all Rebels in scoring with 16 points, followed by Andrew Hains’ 11. Chase Vincent’s eight points and Darren Arceneaux’s six rounded out the Rebels’ scoring efforts.
Dimitri Smith’s 14 points and Seth Rushing’s 11 accounted for almost half of Castor’s 52 points. The remaining four players who recorded points added 27 of their own.