MIDLAND — Traven Guidry decided to shoot it.
With less than a minute left in a tie game, the Midland senior had to make a quick decision to put up a shot or pass it down low to Dagan Patin, as the play was originally drawn up. Guidry opted to take the corner shot and drained his first 3-pointer of the season giving the Rebels a 43-40 lead.
Guidry’s shot helped spark No. 4 Midland to a hard-fought 49-43 victory over No. 5 Simsboro in the Class B quarterfinals. The Rebels will return to the Boys Top 28 Tournament in Lake Charles next week with a chance to defend their state title.
Midland will take on top seed Florien at 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday
“When I caught the ball, I saw the defender coming,” Guidry said. “I stepped back, and my only reaction was to fire it up.”
“That is his first 3-pointer all year long,” Midland coach William Stanley said. “He had the courage to take the shot.”
The first quarter, like much of the game, was up tempo. Both teams sprinted up and down the court trying to each use their athleticism to gain an advantage. One of the biggest roars of the night came in the first period when Midland’s Devin Gautreaux blocked Zach Taylor’s hard drive to the basket.
Despite that, Simsboro (21-10) held a 16-14 lead at the end of the first.
Midland (27-5) raced out to a 6-0 run to start the second and the two teams went back-and-forth for the remainder of the half. At halftime, Midland led 25-24.
“I expected it to be like that,” Stanley said. “We like to make it a track meet and so do they.”
Simsboro took control early in the third as Taylor opened the period by scoring his team’s first five points and blocked Guidry down low. Midland responded with a run and at the end of the quarter it was tied at 35.
Early in the fourth, Gautreaux picked up his fifth foul and was replaced by last year’s Top 28 Class B MVP Randy Primeaux, who had been sitting on the bench with four fouls. With 3:33 left, Primeaux fouled out leaving the Rebels without two of their stars.
“This is the first game that both of them fouled out,” Stanley said. “It was good that it happened because it may happen again.”
Simsboro appeared to have capitalized on the two stars absences as Taylor scored on a fast break, giving the Tigers a 39-35 lead. Midland, though, eventually tie the game, and Guidry made the game-defining shot.
Simsboro did not gain any ground after that.
Dee Livingston went 3-of-6 from the free-throw line after the 3-pointer and also had one turnover. Taylor had a 3-point attempt with 20 seconds left that rimmed out of the basket and that was the closest the Tigers came.
Guidry led Midland with 14 points while Primeaux added eightpoints. Livingston paced Simsboro with 16 points while Taylor added 10.
In the moments after his big shot, Guidry was already looking forward to returning to Burton Coliseum, the site where the team ended its 37-year state championship drought last season.
“I want to go out with a bang,” Guidry said.