Costly turnovers and missed opportunities cost Cecilia a District 5-4A win against St. Martinville (12-6), but only after the Bulldogs mounted a furious comeback in the second half.
Ultimately a 3-pointer by Tigers senior forward Andre Doucet off an inbounds play, and clutch free-throw shooting by senior guard Drapper Anthony sealed the boys basketball game, which ended 56-51.
“(Doucet) hit a couple of big ones for them tonight,” Cecilia coach Marty Lewis said. “It came down to execution at the end, and we just didn’t have it.”
Lewis said Anthony, who had a tough night from the floor, showed poise to deliver at the end.
Doucet led the Tigers with 16 points, including nine from long range.
The Bulldogs (11-6) turned the ball over on four straight possessions in the closing minute, unable to get the ball inbounds after a traveling violation.
Lewis said the team made careless mistakes at the end, including missing several free throws.
“I told them it was time to lock up on defense,” St. Martinville coach Darrel Mitchell Sr. said. “We got them to miss.”
Cecilia stayed in the game by relentlessly going after offensive rebounds, getting second and third opportunities on several possessions.
Mitchell said the Tigers let Cecilia back in the game by not finishing their defensive possessions.
“We wanted to have the two guys on the backside crash the offensive glass,” Lewis said. “We just missed too many of the easy ones.
“It was a one-point game, and I swear it seemed like we missed eight shots right under the bucket. Sometimes it just happens.”
Senior forward Jeremy Wiltz led the Bulldogs with 11 rebounds. He added 15 points.
Wiltz scored 11 of his 15 in the first half, as the Tigers adjusted their defense in the second.
Lewis said the Tigers sagged into the lane on defense, helping to slow Wiltz down and cramp the Bulldogs spacing.
But the game could’ve been over much sooner. The Tigers blitzed the Bulldogs in the opening quarter, using their experienced ball handlers and smothering defense to score eight fast break points.
At the end of the first quarter the Bulldogs trailed 15-6 and couldn’t get their offense running smoothly.
The Bulldogs ramped up their offense in the second quarter but couldn’t slow down forward Jevante Walker who finished the first half with six points, five rebounds and two blocks.
But Lewis adjusted in third quarter, fronting Walker with junior center Trenton Dartez, frustrating the Tigers’ big man.
The frustration led to a technical foul with six minutes left in the third quarter and sparked a Bulldogs run that brought them within two points.
“They know he’s tough to guard down there, and he was just getting more and more frustrated,” Mitchell Sr. said. “Then he had a little problem with his mouth. I’m going to have to correct that.”
Cecilia will look to bounce back Friday, as it takes on Teurlings Catholic, while St. Martinville takes on nondistrict opponent Abbeville.