DUTCHTOWN — Free-throw shooting has been a work in progress for Donaldsonville High School, so coach Lionel Gilbert challenged his team to improve last week.
The results weren’t perfect Monday night, but Donaldsonville (4-4) made 8 of 12 free throws in the fourth quarter as it held off Dutchtown for a 52-49 win in boys basketball action.
“Last Friday I posted the season stats, and we were shooting 48 percent from the free-throw line,” Gilbert said. “The guys took it personal because they know what we’re capable of.”
Dutchtown (1-9) trailed by as many as nine points in the fourth quarter, but fought back to within a point twice in the final minute. Trailing 51-49 with 10 seconds left, the Griffins had a chance to take the lead, but Christian Chustz’ 3-pointer was off the mark.
Donaldsonville then stole an inbounds pass, and hit a free throw for the final margin.
“These kids have worked each and every game to give themselves an opportunity to be in it at the end,” Dutchtown coach Patrick Hill said after the Griffins lost their seventh game of the season by eight points or less.
Braxton Bernard scored eight of his game-high 23 in the fourth quarter to lead Donaldsonville. Also in double figures was Tyler Brown with 10 points, including three 3-pointers.
Joshua Crockett topped Dutchtown with 13 points. Chustz made three 3-pointers to finish with nine points.
Donaldsonville led 38-32 after three quarters and stretched its advantage to 44-35 on Bernard’s fast-break bucket with five minutes left.
Crockett had four points as Dutchtown responded with an 8-1 spurt to pull within 45-43. The Griffins got within one point twice at 48-47 and 50-49, but couldn’t take regain the lead.
“We’ve got a group of guys that are trying to find their identity right now,” Gilbert said. “We showed spurts of the good, and then would come back with a little of the bad, but we’re figuring it out.”
Dutchtown began the game with a purpose, and ran out to a 13-2 lead midway through the first quarter. Chustz, Cameron Burke and Ross Hill each had four points in the run as the Griffins made five of their first six field-goal attempts.
Donaldsonville found its shooting, and made four 3-pointers. Tyler Brown made the last three, and the Tigers tied it 14-14.
Dutchtown led 16-14 after one quarter. Each team held four-point leads in the second quarter before the half ended 22-22.
Hill credited the Dutchtown fans for inspiring the Griffins in their first home game of the season.
“When something good happened, the crowd cheered and we fed off of that,” Hill said. “There were fans that had never seen this group play, and we gave them a valiant effort.”