Free-throw shooting dooms Breaux Bridge in regional playoff loss to Fair Park _lowres

Advocate Photo by BRAD KEMP Breaux Bridge's Ignatius Patt shoots over Fair Park's Ladarrius Lister, left, and Donnie Perkins in a Class 4A regional-round playoff game Wednesday at Breaux Bridge.

BREAUX BRIDGE — Free throws have been the Achilles’ heel for Breaux Bridge all season long, and it was no different in its second round matchup with Fair Park.

After Breaux Bridge held a 20-15 halftime lead, the Tigers went 5-of-13 from the free-throw line in the second half. Fair Park took advantage, hitting two free throws to extend the lead at the end and squeak out a 32-29 victory.

“We struggled to score in the first half, and we just got more opportunities to score in the second,” Fair Park coach Eddie Hamilton said. “We limited their second-chance opportunities. That was the difference in the first half. We just made a concerted effort to hold them to one possession, and it worked.”

Breaux Bridge coach Chad Pourciau said he’s worked on the free-throw struggles all year long, even focusing intently on it in practice all week and on Wednesday. Ultimately, the Tigers’ 8 of 20 shooting from the free-throw line became crippling.

“We shot at least 50 today, and we shot sets of 25 all week,” Pourciau said. “We work on it, and we told them that free throws will eventually sink us, and tonight they did. When you miss 12 free throws, no one guy or player is going to make a difference.”

Fair Park kept Breaux Bridge’s Ignatuis Patt in check, holding him to 12 points. Hamilton said they wanted to keep a rotation of players on Patt to frustrate him .

“We just used a rotation of guys to keep energy on him, so he couldn’t get comfortable,” Hamilton said. “We knew he was a dynamic player that could go off at any point in time. We had guys with their hearts set on not letting him get comfortable.”

Pourciau said it wasn’t so much what Fair Park did to contain Patt, but he chalked it up to just a bad night.

“I don’t know that it’s what (Fair Park) did,” Pourciau said. “(Patt) just struggled tonight. He settled for 3-pointers, and when he did attack the basket, he wasn’t at his best. That kid has carried us all year. I’m certainly not going to knock him for having one bad game. It happens.”

Pourciau said the defensive battle the Tigers encountered was exactly what he expected. As he reflected on his first season as head coach, Pourciau he was proud of what his team accomplished.

“I am a little bitter right now because we gave one away,” he said. “This season shouldn’t be over, but look when I took this job, I think most people gave us a zero-percent chance of even finishing decent, much less being 22-9, winning a district championship and reaching the second round of the playoffs. And that is not a credit to me, that is a credit to those guys who get out there and play.”