LAKE CHARLES – The St. Martinville Tigers weren’t anticipated to be on the championship stage because the No. 11 seed, however they appeared to belong Thursday night towards a 3A energy within the Madison Prep Chargers.
The Tigers gave the Chargers a tricky combat of their quest for his or her first state championship since 2002, and the sport was tight till the ultimate minutes, however the Chargers proved to be too highly effective and took dwelling a 52-47 victory over the Tigers to take again the 3A title.
The Tigers had upset larger seeds the previous threes video games, however they only didn’t have fairly sufficient to decelerate the No. 1-seeded Chargers’ dynamic group of guards and publish gamers.
“I believe we performed a aggressive recreation,” Tigers coach Ihmaru Jones stated. “We had the lead on the finish of the third, all we needed to do was win that fourth quarter. We had a couple of psychological lapses on protection, after which we missed some pictures that we should always’ve made.
“That resulted in us being a bit bit brief, however we’re comfortable, we made it right here, we performed our hardest, we made it the most effective recreation we might, and I’m pleased with our guys. We have been planning on getting out of right here with a win to say we knocked down No. 3, knocked down No. 2 and have been hoping to knock down No. 1, however we fell a bit brief.”
The Tigers’ expertise with a powerful group of seniors paid off on the massive stage, as they practically accomplished their final aim of a state championship towards top-of-the-line within the state.
“This expertise was superior,” Jones stated. “I’m actually glad for the seniors that they obtained to get right here as a result of they promised me within the sixth grade that they might get right here, and so they did. I’m pleased with them, and I’m comfortable for our youthful guys to get the expertise, so possibly it’d gentle a hearth for them to get again right here earlier than they graduate.”
The Tigers noticed senior ahead Datayvious Gabriel warmth up down the stretch and end with a team-high 17 factors adopted by senior level guard Jalen Mitchell with 10 factors.
“The factor I’m going to recollect most is that no one believed in us,” Gabriel stated. “No one thought we might make it this far, and we proved them flawed. Like coach Jones stated, we talked about this since sixth grade and made it come true. It felt good to see the entire metropolis come out and watch us.”
“It was unreal,” Mitchell stated. “We’ve been dreaming of this since we have been small, so to be right here, it simply feels actual. It (Madison Prep) was a superb backcourt, however we had performed guards like that for 3 years, so it actually wasn’t something completely different.”
Whereas Gabriel and Mitchell gave it their all, the Chargers have been powerful to comprise with level guard Kavon Shannon and publish Percy Daniels blowing up within the fourth quarter.
“23 (Daniels) we knew was going to be an element,” Jones stated. “They simply fed it, fed it, fed it inside, so we knew that was going to be part of it, particularly within the fourth quarter as a result of they have been making an attempt to get some simple buckets.”
The Tigers’ robust senior class has rather a lot to be pleased with, and so they have rather a lot to stay up for with a younger group of athletes on the rise.
“The blokes which can be beneath them (the seniors) get an opportunity to expertise all this, so hopefully it lights a hearth below them after we get going within the fall,” Jones stated. “Hopefully they see that it takes exhausting work and dedication, and so they get after us and attempt to get right here additionally. We had a bunch of years the place we simply couldn’t recover from that quarterfinal hump, however this 12 months we did.”