John Ehret’s boys basketball team had a little extra incentive as they pushed past Hahnville 40-33 during the first round of the Newman Invitational on Wednesday evening.
The Patriots fed off an unlikely method of encouragement by their head coach.
Hahnville’s Fountainette Bradley pulled his team within one point, after a pair of free throws courtesy of Patriots coach Allen Collins.
Collins was then hit with a technical foul with just less than 20 seconds left in the third quarter. He said he thought his team needed a fire lit to awaken them.
“In all my years of coaching, I have been known as a very reserved guy,” Collins said. “I will be the first to discipline my team, but I will also have their back in their time of need.
“I didn’t think we were getting the right calls, and my players were being treated unfairly. It prompted me to say something and I guess the referee didn’t like it.”
The newly motivated Patriots responded with a 6-0 run going into the fourth quarter. However, if one technical foul wasn’t enough, Collins garnered a second one. This time he would be asked to leave the game for good.
“He gave me a second technical as well, but it was worth it to show my team I had their backs,” Collins said.
The Patriots extended their lead to eight points after Joshua Watt scored back-to-back baskets. He finished with a team-high 14 points.
Hahnville had its chances throughout the game, but could not sustain a run to get them closer than two points.
Nathan Kennedy recorded five blocks, while posting five points on offense. Bradley led all scorers with 12 points, but found crowded spacing as the Patriots defense keyed on him.
Hahnville coach Marcell Fischer noted his team’s lack of focus down the stretch.
“We didn’t execute in the second half and it really hurt us,” Fischer said. “We are a young team and have to learn to take care of the basketball. They concentrated on our best player and we were a little short-handed because of it.
“We will learn from this and focus for tomorrow.”
Ehret spread the ball around in the first half once it settled down. Senior point guard Anthony McGhee led the charge and posted six points. Watts and added another five early to help take a 16-13 lead heading into halftime.
Both teams started slow in the first quarter. Hahnville held an early lead by applying pressure on defense.
The Tigers earned five of their first nine points from the free-throw line.
The Patriots provided some scrappy play down below to close out the first quarter only behind 9-6.
Ehret will play the winner of the Newman vs. McMain game on Thursday.
BROTHER MARTIN 81, BAKER, ALA. 73: The Crusaders got 28 points from Venjie Wallis to win in the first round of the Newman Invitational.
Bruce Jordan-Swilling and Luke Walker added 18 and 10 points, respectively.
Baker kept things close throughout the game and even led by as much as eight points in the third quarter.
Micheal Standifer scored 25 points while Demetri Williams and Jared Holland combined for another 24 points for Baker (15-9).
Brother Martin will play Helen Cox at 5 p.m. Thursday.