Written by Kyle Valdez
Entering last Tuesday night’s game, H.L. Bourgeois carried a 7-game win streak and a tie for the District 7-5A lead with Hahnville. A win over Thibodaux High at “The Jungle” would give them a share of the district championship and a chance to secure a home playoff game as they are sitting at the #16 seed in Class 5A.
Thibodaux entered the contest on a 2-game skid and seeded #27 in the latest LHSAA rankings release. A win over the Braves would guarantee a playoff spot and inject confidence into the squad heading into the district finale against East St. John and the playoffs.
Despite the two teams’ seasons evolving in different directions, a cross-town rivalry game like this is bound to be competitive regardless of the past. Kyren Lacy ultimately led the Tigers to victory behind 26 points, 13 boards, three blocks, and two steals. J’Mari Carter played just as big of a role by contributing 16 points, seven boards, and playing tight defense on Deondre Buggage. Factoring in Carter’s strong defensive pressure all night, Buggage still managed to find enough space on the perimeter to knock down seven three’s for 23 points. When the final buzzer sounded, Thibodaux outlasted HLB in a tightly contested 66-60 match.
The game was tight throughout as HLB held an early 17-12 after the first 8 minutes of play behind Demarcus Singleton’s 10 first-quarter points. After the sluggish scoring first quarter for Thibodaux, Kyren Lacy found his groove in the second quarter, putting up 10 points on multiple transition buckets and two triples. Thibodaux ended up outscoring the opposition 16-10 in the period to take a 1-point lead into halftime.
Entering halftime, it was apparent that the contest was shaping up to be a close game– something Thibodaux has struggled to finish all year. Throughout the season, 10 of Thibodaux's 13 losses have been by 7 points or less - and four games by one possession. When asked about his team’s approach to the game, Lacy responded, “This is what we’ve been talking about for the past two weeks – finishing the game. All we talk about is finishing the game. After we finish practice, that’s our main focus.” By the end of the contest, Thibodaux managed to flip the switch and survive a late-game scare.
To begin the second half, the teams tied each other at 16 points apiece, resulting in Thibodaux taking the slim 45-44 lead into the final 8 minutes. Both teams exchanged big buckets in the quarter, but Thibodaux always remained a step ahead, courtesy of two three-pointers by Kyren Lacy to open up a 7-point Tiger lead. Tyren Young came up with multiple clutch baskets to protect the lead, including a crucial three-point play in transition, halting HL’s comeback. Thibodaux eventually opened up their biggest lead of the game at 9 with three minutes left in the game. With HL running out of options, Buggage knocked down two three-pointers in the final 90 seconds of play. Despite closing the gap, J’Mari Carter knocked down his free throws - 6/6 in the fourth quarter - to seal the Tiger's win.
Thibodaux took care of business against East St. John in their last game of the regular season & will go into the playoffs as the number 23 seed. The Tigers will travel to the number 10 seed Hahnville this Friday for the first round of the playoffs.
H.L Bourgeois got wins over Chalmette & E.D White in their last two games of the regular season. The Braves go into the playoffs as the number 16 seed & will host East Jefferson this Friday for the first round of the playoffs.
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