After Lutcher erased a nine-point halftime deficit, the Patterson Lumberjacks decided to attack the baseline in the fourth quarter in the championship game of the boys’ District 9-3A basketball tournament Friday at the St. James gym in Vacherie.
Lutcher trailed by a single point heading into the fourth quarter when Elijah Williams hit a 3-pointer for the Lumberjacks.
When then decided to attack the baseline. His first basket from the baseline extended the Patterson lead to six points. After the Bulldogs cut it back down to one point, Williams again drove the baseline for a 42-39 lead and the Lumberjacks’ lead never dropped below three points from then on as Patterson captured the tournament title with a 51-46 win
“We thought we had a good adjustment for it,” Lutcher coach J.P. Piper said of the Lumberjacks’ baseline play. “They (the Lumberjacks) made some tough shots but we had plenty of opportunities. Free throws jump out and we would have momentum and we would make a run and we would turn the ball over. We would dribble it off our foot or get it picked playing with it. We just have to learn we can’t do that.”
A late-season bug-a-boo of missed free throws hurt the Bulldogs (21-6) once again.
Lutcher was 9 of 20 from the free-throw line in the game. During the second quarter in which the LHS deficit reached nine points, the Bulldogs were 2 of 8 from the free-throw line.
“We shoot them every day and we make them,” said Piper, referring to free throws. “The game does that to you. The lights are on and there are people in the stands and the knees or wobbling. We have to learn from it.”
Immediately after the game, a brawl broke out in the stands behind the Patterson bench and briefly on the court.
Patterson coach Edwin Colbert pulled off his outer shirt and appeared to spark a frenzy among Lumberjack fans seated behind the bench. The exchanged spread through the court among some players from each team but order was quickly restored as both teams retreated to their respective locker rooms.
Shortly after the teams made it to the locker room, another brief skirmish took place in the same area of the stands from the earlier scuffle.
“I don’t even know what happened. I know our players didn’t start it. Our players got a little heated because some of their family members were involved. Thankfully, we got all our kids in the locker room. They followed directions. I couldn’t be prouder, not only with the way we played on the court but how we acted after the game. They responded to our challenge to get into the locker room and stay there,” said Piper.
It is unknown what caused Colbert’s reaction. The Patterson coach was unavailable for comment as both teams quickly left the gym after heading to the locker rooms.
Lutcher trailed 27-18 at halftime and quickly got back in the game early in the third quarter. The Bulldogs picked up their defensive intensity to open the second half and forced turnovers that led to easy baskets.
After Jacoby Williams scored the first basket of the second half off of an offensive rebounds, Jeremiah Pierre scored on a pair of layups created when the Bulldogs forced turnovers.
That enabled the Bulldogs to cut the deficit to three points at 27-24.
Trailing 31-26, Lutcher outscored Patterson 7-2 for a 34-33 lead with 1:32 left in the game – the first lead for the Bulldogs since the opening minutes of the game.
“I’m really proud of how the players competed after I challenged them at halftime to play more physical and play with more intensity. We put ourselves in position to win the game but just made a few costly mistakes. They hit a big shot down the stretch and things just didn’t go our way,” said Piper.
It proved to be the only lead for Lutcher in the second half. Following the run, Josiah Jennings drove the baseline to put Patterson (23-10) back on top and the Lumberjacks took a 35-34 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
Led by Elijah Williams’ five points, Patterson took a 16-10 lead after one quarter.
After Patterson’s Ty Walton opened the second quarter with a put-back, Lutcher started to attack the basket. Jacoby Williams hit two free throws and after D’Wayne Winfield missed two, Williams hit a jumper from the free-throw line to pull the Bulldogs to within 18-14.
The Lumberjacks countered by hitting from outside on a jumper by Elijah Williams and a 3-pointer by Kai Schexnayder to take a 23-14 lead with 5:14 left in the second quarter.
The nine-point spread held up with Patterson going on to lead 27-18 at halftime.
Jacoby Williams led all scorers with 19 points. Pierre chipped in 12 for Lutcher.
Elijah Williams paced Patterson with 16 points. Schexnayder tossed in 13 for the Lumberjacks.
Despite the loss, the Bulldogs don’t figure to drop much in the power rankings with the playoff brackets being released on Monday, according to Piper
“Based on who was around us and where we were, they were a good enough team that losing to them shouldn’t drop us in the power rankings. I expect to be fifth – worst case, sixth seed – which means we would host the first two rounds,” the Lutcher coach said.