Rebels slip into tournament finals
By Chris Quebedeaux
MIDLAND – Scoring hadn’t been a problem for the Midland Rebels during their first two games of the MHS Holiday Spectacular Tournament.
The Rebels (18-4) posted a total of 133 points in victories over Iota and Sacred Heart.
But, when the well ran dry Monday in the boys’ semifinals against Class 5A Acadiana, it was the defense that bailed out the Rebels and helped send them into Tuesday’s championship game.
Midland forced 15 Acadiana turnovers, 12 in the second half, to offset a dismal 30 percent shooting effort from the floor which allowed the Rebels to hold on for a 39-37 victory.
With the victory, the Rebels advanced to the finals of the tournament where they took on Abbeville late last night. Results of that game will be published in Thursday’s edition of the Post-Signal.
“This was a big win for us,” said Midland coach Todd Briley. “Coming in, I didn’t think we could win if we had a bad night shooting. I’m proud of our guys because we showed a lot of mental toughness. We faced some adversity but we stayed positive and we battled through it.”
Acadiana had just three turnovers in the first half and carried a 26-22 advantage into the break before Midland battled back to tie it at 32-32 after the third quarter.
Midland’s defense picked up the intensity in the final frame, forcing six turnovers, including one with just two seconds left to seal the victory.
“You have to give Midland all the credit,” said Acadiana coach Dwayne Searle, whose team defeated Central Catholic, 52-33, earlier in the day to advance to the semifinal contest. “We didn’t handle their (Midland) man-to-man pressure real well and they just executed better than us down the stretch.”
Miles Sonnier broke a 35-35 deadlock on a jumper in the lane with just over five minutes remaining. Seconds later, T.J. Gautreaux hit a layup in transition to give Midland a 39-35 advantage.
Acadiana’s Matt Andress cut the lead to 39-37 on a layup with 2:33 left, but the Rams failed to capitalize on a Midland turnover as the clock wound down by returning the favor with two seconds remaining.
“I’m really pleased with the effort and the toughness we showed tonight,” said Briley. “This team really hadn’t showed that yet this year. We’ve wilted under pressure in the past, but tonight, we didn’t.”
Sonnier went 7-for-11 from the charity stripe and led the Rebels with 14 points while also pulling down 11 rebounds.
B.J. Cormier followed with 12 points and Colby Gantt scored six. Gautreaux chipped in four points and Allen Fontenot rounded out the Rebels’ scoring with three points.
Clint Broussard paced the Rams with 14 points and Kendrick Stansberry had eight.
In other boys’ tournament action, the Crowley Gents were eliminated after falling to Class 4A Abbeville in the quarterfinals, 59-47.
Crowley (11-6), playing without three starters, fell behind 34-18 at the half before the Wildcats jumped out to a 25-point lead (49-24) late in the third quarter.
The Gents rallied back in the fourth, outscoring the Wildcats 19-10 to account for the final score.
Keith Pierson led the Gents with 10 points. He was followed by Donavon Morris, Jerrell Andrus and Dexter Scott, all with eight points.
Mike Harmon added six points, all in the fourth quarter, while Tevin Barker scored five before going down with an ankle injury before the half. Darius Harrison scored two points.