Midland upends Anacoco to reach title game
Midland’s Jake Gautreaux (15) goes up for a shot over Anacoco’s Will Reese (31) Wednesday during the Rebels’ 55-38 victory over the Indians. (Photo by J.C. Webb)
LAKE CHARLES - Anacoco’s Will Reese did his best to keep his Indians in the game, but the Midand Rebels put the clamps on the sophomore forward in the second half and that along with a solid overall performance by Darren Arceneaux allowed the Acadia Parish team to pull away for a 55-38 Class B semifinal victory Wednesday at Burton Coliseum.
The victory propelled the Rebels into tonight’s state championship against Fairview, a 60-56 winner over No. 1 Florien, also on Wednesday. It will be the third meeting of the season between the two teams. Midland has won the first two.
“In the first half, we just didn’t stop the Reese kid and he just killed us,” said MHS coach Todd Briley. “He had 17 of their 20 points in the first half. In the second half, we made some adjustments and just decided that we were going to grind it out and defend better.”
The Rebels (27-3) held Reese to just six points in the final two quarters and outscored the Indians 28-18 over that time in earning their first title game appearance since 2010.
Defending Reese better was only part of the equation, however.
The Rebels also got a boost from the play of Arceneaux, who is nicknamed “Doobie.”. He poured in 11 points in the first half and added nine more in the second to finish with a team-high 20 points.
“Coach just told me to post up and try to score in the paint,” said Arceneaux, who also finished with 12 rebounds, three assists and one steal. “We just wanted to play hard and we wanted this win so I was just trying to do whatever I could to help my team.”
Jake Gautreaux also played a major role, scoring 16 points. More importantly, he was handed the task of guarding Reese in the second half.
With him and the Rebels putting the clamps on the Indians, Anacoco shooters went cold from the floor for nearly five minutes at the end of the contest. The Indians cut the lead to 44-36 with 5:01 remaining and they didn’t score again until there were just 47 seconds remaining.
“We couldn’t stop him (Reese) in the first half,” said Gautreaux. “We jumped out to a lead, but they were still in the game because of him. Coach gave us a job to do in the second half and we did the job, got it done and came away with the win.”
The Rebels came out firing on all cylinders to start the contest and led 20-9 after the opening quarter behind seven points each from Arceneaux and Gautreaux.
Reese, however, scored eight of his first-half 17 points in the second quarter and the Indians trimmed the lead to 27-20 at the break.
“We got off to a quick start, but at some points, we stopped attacking offensively and started settling for jump shots,” said Briley, whose team went 3-of-10 from the floor in the second quarter. “We don’t want to tell our guys not to shoot because we’re a good shooting team, but you don’t want to just settle for jump shots. I feel like we can attack people and get to the hole and we kind of went away from that.”
The Rebels went back to their inside game in the third quarter and Arceneaux produced with seven points to help push Midland’s lead to 42-29.
In the fourth, Briley elected to spread the court and force the Indians to foul. That worked in the Rebels’ favor as they scored nine of their points from the charity stripe.
“We’re not satisfied with missing layups and free throws like we did at the end, and that has been a strength of ours,” said Briley, whose team also missed seven free throws and two layups in the final minutes. “In the Zwolle game, we were like 19-of-21 from the free throw line; that’s why we went to the spread kind of early because I figured we would make free throws.
“But we missed a few and then we didn’t finish layups. But we’ll do better next time.”
The Rebels shot 39 percent from the floor on the night (19-for-48) and 58 percent from the stripe (14-for-24).
“I thought my kids played hard tonight, which I wasn’t surprised by that,” said Briley. “I believe in them. We might not play as well as I would like, but we are going to play hard and compete.”
Gautreaux had five assists and two steals to go along with his 16 points while Devin Gautreaux added 10 points and Nick Primeaux had four points, six rebounds and one steal. Randy Gautreaux added three points and five rebounds.
For the third time this season, the Midland Rebels and the Fairview Panthers will square off on the hardwood.
Only this time, it’s for all the marbles.
The Rebels defeated the Panthers 59-47 back on Nov. 12 at home and then just over a week later, they took a 52-47 decision over Fairview at the Hathaway tournament.
Both of those games went down to the wire so Briley knows tonight’s contest will be yet another dogfight.
“I know we beat them twice, but I feel that this will be anybody’s game,” said Briley. “Fairview has always reminded me of Midland: they play a little more zone and stuff, but if you want to talk about just aggressive, hard nosed, just rough...we both kind of matchup in that section.
“There’s no telling how it’s going to go, but I expect a battle.”
Fairview enters fresh off a 60-56 upset of No. 1 Florien Wednesday.
In that game, junior guard Grant Dowies and sophomore Brennan Maddox combined for 43 points. Dowies poured in a game-high 25 points, including five 3-pointers, while Maddox scored 18 points and pulled down 16 rebounds. Hunter Dowies also contributed with nine points.
“Both of the twins (Grant and Hunter) can shoot the ball and Maddox, he’s just such a tough kid, you have to respect him,” said Briley.”