With his top player in the midst of quarterbacking Acadiana’s football team to a Class 5A state regional appearance, first-year basketball coach Nic Jeffers waited patiently.
The Rams lost five of their first six games before the arrival of junior Myles Hutchinson in early December and since then have shown they are a team with promise.
Acadiana finally put it all together in a 54-48 victory Tuesday over previously undefeated District 3-5A member Comeaux, thus giving the Rams (8-8, 2-0) the early lead in the league going into Friday’s game at Barbe (15-6, 2-1).
“It just took a little while for the chemistry with Myles coming back in,” said Jeffers, the coach of the Acadiana girls program the past three years. “He’s (Hutchinson) an impact guy and started playing immediately. Those guys had practiced together for six weeks, and it took a little getting used to. Hopefully we’re on the right track now.”
Senior Elijah Benoit rewarded Jeffers’ confidence with a start in Tuesday’s contest, scoring 16 points on the strength of four 3-pointers. Jacob Maxwell added 15 and Hutchinson 12.
The Rams led the Spartans (14-7, 2-1) 28-27 at halftime and 38-37 after three quarters and relied on clutch shooting and a 10-of-10 showing at the free- throw line.
“It was a big win for us,” Jeffers said. “It’s one of the few games this year where we put together an entire, four-quarter performance. We had to play near perfect to beat those guys because they’re so tough and talented.”
Hutchinson’s 13.6 scoring average tops Acadiana with Maxwell averaging 11.3, Tyrell Robinson 9.3 and Cody Bourque 7.2.
“It’s going to be a tough place to play,” Jeffers said of Barbe, which is 7-3 at home. “Fortunately we’ve played 14 games on the road and have played in some pretty tough environments. Hopefully that will pay off.”
PATTERSON-E.D. WHITE: Patterson’s working on a stretch of five successive district titles and realizes the first big step in this year’s District 8-3A race takes place Friday at E.D. White.
“It’s a huge rivalry game between us,” Patterson coach Ryan Taylor said. “The last couple of years it’s come down between us two in the district.”
Patterson (11-4, 2-0) has won six of its past seven game, while E.D. White (12-2) is on a five-game win streak into Friday’s 7:30 p.m. tip-off.
District tri-leader North Vermilion (11-5, 2-0) hosts Franklin (2-12, 0-2).
The Lumberjacks feature a veteran lineup with four senior starters led by point guard Taylan Grogan with 13.7-point average and fellow senior Nehemiah Augustus at 13.1 points.
Guard D.J. Jones and Kenneth Washington are also senior starters.
Patterson’s encountered little resistance in a pair of decisive wins district wins over Kaplan (64-34) and Berwick (61-37), while E.D. White’s handled Kaplan (54-26) and Franklin (74-57).
“We’ll have to be ready to play our game and not let any factors get involved and dictate to us how we want to play,” Taylor said. “If we go in and play our game, play our tempo, (then) we’ll be fine.”