St. Amant High School coach Gary Duhe notched his 700th career victory on his home floor with a 62-59 victory against Dunham on Friday night in the semifinals of the Ralph Sellers Gold Dome Classic.
“The most important thing is for these guys to play for the championship,” Duhe said. “I told ’em ‘I plan on coaching for a long time, we’re going to win at least one more game.”’
The Gators (4-1) will face Airline, a 71-55 winner against Woodlawn, in the championship game at 12:30 p.m. Saturday.
Duhe’s milestone occurred just two days after East Ascension coach Kenny Almond secured his 800th victory in the same building and the same tournament.
“It’s very special doing it here. It’s very special doing it just two days after coach Almond did it,” said Duhe, who is in his 29th year as a head coach. “We’re best friends, and I just think it means that we’ve survived the longevity of the profession at different schools and different kids.
“Things have changed, but our core values haven’t changed, and I think that’s what’s made us successful at different schools.”
Donald LeBlanc led St. Amant with 21 points and Marvin Brown added 13, including the go-ahead basket with 21 seconds to play.
Dunham’s Jonathan Honore led all scorers with 28 points and Zach Padgett poured in 20. The Tigers fought back from a 17-point first-half deficit and took their first lead (37-35) with 6:32 to play in the third quarter.
“We have two very good perimeter players in Honore and Padgett, and they can create shots on their own,” Dunham coach Jonathan Pixley said. “So we feed off those guys, and we were able to settle down and get those guys in spots where they can be effective.
“I’m very proud of my guys. They fought back. If I’ve got to lose, I don’t mind losing to coach Duhe on No. 700. It was a heck of a game.”
Brown’s reverse layup gave St. Amant a 60-58 edge, and he hit two free throws with 6.1 seconds to play to put the Gators ahead 62-58.
Padgett’s free throw pulled Dunham within three. His potential game-tying 3-pointer rimmed out at the buzzer.