Breaux Bridge’s Ignatius Patt noticed a larger-than-usual home crowd for a game two years ago for a game against Washington-Marion and its talented forward Mark Vital.
Vital enjoyed several highlight-reel slam dunks, and the Tigers were blown out, a couple of unforgettable moments that remained with Patt.
“People came to our gym to watch them play,” Patt said. “They came to watch Mark Vital. It was a dunk fest, and I didn’t like it.
That motivated me to play to get the Breaux Bridge fans on our side.”
Patt returned to Washington-Marion earlier this season with a vengeance, helping Breaux Bridge to an impressive showing in a mid-December tournament that featured wins over Washington-Marion (72-65) and Barbe (73-72) and a narrow loss to Natchitoches-Central (48-47).
Patt averaged 27 points and was named the tournament’s MVP, saving his best in the victory over Washington-Marion, with a season-high 33 points with seven rebounds and seven assists.
“He’s been big time for us,” Breaux Bridge first-year coach Chad Pourciau said. “When we need a basket, we go to him. Offensively, he makes us go. He can do it all.”
The midseason tournament turned out to be a simultaneous coming-out party for Breaux Bridge and a showcase event for Patt, who has since signed with LSU-Alexandria.
The Tigers showed they had moved on after the transfer of 6-foot-7 junior All-American Galen Alexander to Lafayette Christian Academy.
Breaux Bridge has since claimed the District 5-4A championship and enters postseason play for the first time since 2001. The No. 6-seeded Tigers (21-8) will make their first appearance in a Class 4A state playoff game at home Friday at 7:15 p.m. against No. 27 St. Michael the Archangel.
“Nobody probably predicted us to be where we are,” Pourciau said. “He’s (Patt) been a big part of it. All of the guys like each other which helps. The environment is good, and the team concept is there.”
Because Pourciau had previously coached Patt in middle school before taking over Breaux Bridge’s program this season, he had a working knowledge of the skill set and ability the 6-foot-3, 175-pounder possessed.
Patt had started the past two years, averaging 7.0 and 13.5 points but was clearly in a secondary role behind the talented Alexander, who was the team’s leading scorer and go-to guy.
“I knew as soon as Galen left that was my role,” Patt said. “I’ve enjoyed it. I just want to put my team in a position to win games.”
More than Alexander’s departure, Patt’s desire was fueled by what he considered a snub when he landed on only the all-district honorable mention squad.
His summer workouts intensified, concentrating on trying to complement his ability to drive to the basket with a consistent jump shot all the way out to the 3-point line.
“Last year people didn’t really know who I was,” Patt said. “I wasn’t playing like I could have. I was in the back seat, and (Alexander) was the driver. My brother (Felton Gregory) told me this was my season. That we were going to make history.”
Patt has reached double figures in 27 of his team’s 28 games, averaging a team-high 18.3 points with 4.3 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.5 steals. He’s enjoyed 12 games of 20 points or more and three over 30.
“I think everyone on the team knows if we need a basket we’re going to him, and they’ve accepted that,” Pourciau said. “They believe in him, just like he believes in those guys. It’s truly a team effort. Because of that we’re having success.”