After scoring only 17 points on 5-of-24 shooting in the first half, it looked like the Hannan boys basketball team was in for a long night against Thomas Jefferson in Friday’s Class 2A bidistrict playoff.
But then the Hawks caught fire.
No. 11 seed Hannan opened the second half with a 17-0 run and cruised to a 59-43 home win over the Jaguars near Covington.
Hannan (21-6) will face the winner of the Rayville/West St. Mary game.
The third quarter was a tremendous turn of events for the Hawks after a lackluster start. Hannan was 10-of-17 from the floor in the quarter, and 5-of-6 from the line. The outburst allowed them to outscore 22nd-seeded Thomas Jefferson by a 27-11 margin in the third.
Jaguars turnovers aided Hannan (Thomas Jefferson had eight giveaways in the third quarter and 26 in the game). A pressure defense after halftime, as well as better attention to offensive rebounding, allowed the Hawks to gather themselves and put together the 17-0 run.
“Coach (Michael Senna) got us together at halftime and lit a fire under us,” said Hannan senior Ross Murray, who scored 12 points.
“We got the rebounds, and we pushed the ball and were able to beat them up the court on the full-court press,” said fellow senior Patrick Bossetta, who led all scorers with 22 points. “And our defense was playing great tonight. Everybody was getting on the floor for the balls and sticking to their man.”
Neither team started off hot from the floor, and the game was 8-7 in Thomas Jefferson’s favor at the end of the first quarter. Richard Williams sparked the Jaguars with a pair of 3-pointers in the quarter.
Thanks to turnovers, the Hawks went up 16-11 when Murray connected on an inside basket at the 3:50 mark. But the Jaguars answered with an 8-1 run to close the half with a 19-17 lead.
That slim margin could have been greater, but the Jaguars committed 12 turnovers in the half. Hannan wasn’t far behind, however, with seven giveaways.
Then, something switched on for Hannan. Murray connected on a spin move in the lane, which was followed by a pair of layups by Norris Williams and Noah Griffin. Before Thomas Jefferson (19-9) knew what hit it, Hannan seized momentum. The Jaguars didn’t score until 3:20 was remaining in the quarter.
“I thought we had a lot of momentum going into the third quarter,” Thomas Jefferson coach William Ureta said. “But give Hannan credit. They came at us with pressure. We’re new to this, this being our first trip to the playoffs. I have a bunch of young kids that weren’t used to the pressure. ... But it’s a learning experience.”
Senna said his team will work to maintain the momentum it found in the second half of Friday’s game.
“We have to continue to be aggressive,” he said. “That momentum carries over to the defensive side. The only thing is (if sixth seeded Rayville wins), then you have to kind of flip a switch when you get to half-court on offense and be more patient.”
Griffin added 11 points and Williams nine for Hannan. Richard Williams led Thomas Jefferson with 16 points.