The Hahnville Tigers are headed to the Top 28 boys’ basketball tournament thanks to a big fourth quarter Saturday night in Monroe.
Hahnville trailed through three quarters and scored a total of 37 points heading into the fourth quarter before the Tigers exploded for 33 points in the final period to upset host Ouachita Parish 70-67.
“We finally started doing what we should have been doing the first three,” said Hahnville coach Yussef Jasmine. “We are a tempo team and they actually played solid defense and it was kind of slowing us down a little bit with some pressure. We finally got into a little bit loose in the fourth quarter. We got out in transition a little bit and kind of got some open looks. We locked in in that fourth quarter.”
Hahnville (26-9) advances to the semifinals as the lowest seed remaining in the Class 5A bracket. The Tigers, the No. 10 seed, knocked off a Lions team that was seeded No. 2.
The Tigers will take on No. 6 seed Alexandria, which defeated No. 14 seed West Monroe 62-56. The game is slated for 6:15 p.m. Wednesday at Burton Coliseum in Lake Charles. In the other semifinal matchup, Bonnabel, the No. 4 seed, will take on Walker, the No. 9 seed.
The last time the Tigers advanced as far in the playoffs was when Hahnville went to the state championship game in 2009.
“It’s a monumental moment for me as a coach,” said Jasmine. “It’s the furthest I’ve been. The last time I made it this far was the quarterfinals at Ouachita when I was at East St. John.”
In the decisive fourth quarter, Hahnville top players came up big for the Tigers.
Tyren Lebeauf scored 10 points in the fourth quarter, including a 3-pointer and hitting three free throws. Kaden Pierre scored nine points in the fourth period, five coming off of free throws. Claudell Harris had eight points in the period, including a pair of 3-pointers.
The free throws were key for the Tigers down the stretch. After hitting on only 6 of 11 free throws in the first half, Hahnville was 14 of 26 in the second half, including 12 of 22 in the fourth quarter.
“We work on that a lot,” Jasmine said. “Great teams have got to make free throws. Great teams have got to play solid defense, and great teams have got to not turn the ball over.
“I work on that with them mentally a lot. Sometimes young men don’t understand the value of a possession all the time. They are just playing the game and don’t understand that in those playoff moments, the intensity of the game has got to pick up and we have to do the little things well. I think tonight, we did that.”
The free throws helped offset a large amount of points by the Lions from the charity stripe in the fourth quarter.
In fourth quarter, except for a pair of 3-pointers, 19 of Ouachita’s 25 points came from the free throw line. Ouachita Parish’s Jamal Davis was 14 of 17 from free throw line in the fourth quarter.
“As they (the Lions) were down late, they started attacking a little bit more,” said Jasmine. “The last minute felt like 10 because as soon as we got the ball, they were fouling us.
“We has some fouls down the stretch that put them at the line, but overall, it was a good win in a hostile environment. I can’t be more proud of my guys.”
Pierre finished with 23 points for Hahnville while Harris added 19 and Lebeauf 14.
“Those are our guys. It’s always great when your big guys step up and do what they are supposed to do down the stretch,” Jasmine said.
Davis led all scorers with 28 points while Jordan Sledge added 10 for Ouachita Parish (25-6).
Hahnville trailed 16-13 after one quarter and 33-25 at halftime.
In a low-scoring third quarter, Hahnville outscored the Lions 12-9 to trail 42-37 heading into the fourth quarter.
Getting as far as a semifinals is unchartered territory for Hahnville in a while, but there is more yet to accomplish, according to Jasmine.
“At the beginning of the season, the end goal was to win a state championship. We have two more games to go and we will keep it going,” the Hahnville coach said.