When E.D. White saw Lutcher was unable to shoot free throws, the Cardinals sent the Bulldogs to the free-throw line in the fourth quarter of Tuesday night’s opening game of the District 9-3A boys’ basketball tournament being held at the St. James gym in Vacherie.
After EDW’s Coleman Faucheaux hit a 3-pointer for the first points of the fourth quarter to inch the Cardinals to within six points at 40-34, the Bulldogs paraded to the free-throw line.
The Bulldogs missed six-straight free throws, including the final two on the front end of one-and-one situations, yet the Cardinals could get no closer than four points until Grant Blouin hit free throw to make it a two-point game at 43-41.
“It’s a little uncharacteristic for Mehki (Patterson and Jaedon (Pierre),” Lutcher coach J.P. Piper said of the missed free throws. “They normally knock down those down. I wanted them in that position.”
“It did no good because we gave them four offensive rebounds on free throws. Any team that wants to accomplish what we want to accomplish, we can’t do that,” countered E.D. White coach Jonathan Keife.
After a timeout by Lutcher, the Bulldogs held E.D. White scoreless over the final two minutes of the game.
Meanwhile, the Bulldogs scored on a driving basket by Pierre, a lay-in by Sam Scott, a fast-break basket by Pierre, plus a pair of free throws as Lutcher went on to take a 52-41 victory.
“I think we were up three and I called timeout and challenged them that ‘this is what we work for, this is the spot we want to be in. Even though the game is tight, we are in control of the game. We will control how the game finishes and that’s going to be at the free throw and layups. Now, go make the plays.’ Fortunately, we made enough of them,” said Piper.
Lutcher (20-5) advanced to the finals of the district tournament on Friday. The Bulldogs will face Patterson, which defeated Donaldsonville 60-34.
Copeland Williams finished with 13 points to pace the Bulldogs, with D’Wayne Winfield chipping in 10.
EDW (24-4) was led in scoring by Quinn Strander and Ethan Soignet, each with 11 points. All 11 of Soignet’s points came in the second half.
E.D. White patiently worked the ball around the perimeter to open the game but had little to show for it when the Cardinals’ shots were not falling, allowing Lutcher to take a 10-7 lead after one quarter.
After an inside by E.D. White’s Colby Guidry pulled the Cardinals to within five at 14-9, Piper called a timeout.
The Bulldogs came out more inspired following the timeout. Scott and Williams both scored on put-backs and Williams hit a 3-pointer to stretch Lutcher’s lead to 12 points at 21-7 at the 4:22 mark of the second quarter.
Lutcher’s lead of 16 points at halftime of 29-13 equaled the Bulldogs’ biggest lead of the first half.
Kale Williams scored the first four point of the second half on a basket and two free throws to give Lutcher its biggest lead of the game at 20 points.
It was at that point the Cardinals began to rally.
On three consecutive trips down the floor, the Bulldogs were called for offensive fouls.
EDW took advantage of the Lutcher miscues, scoring on a Caleb Hagen free throw, an inside basket by Guidry, two Soignet free throws and a basket by Strander after a Bulldogs turnover to make it 33-20.
Two Strander free throws and a basket by Mason Lawless allowed the Cardinals to cut the deficit to more than half, trailing 32-24 with 2:48 remaining in the third quarter.
The Bulldogs rebuilt their lead to 12 points until Soignet connected on a 3-point to again make the margin nine points at 40-31 heading into the fourth quarter.