Hahnville High School didn’t lead against the Country Day until 16 seconds remained in the game Friday night.
When the final buzzer sounded, however, Hahnville was celebrating.
Takourin Grows scored on a layup with 16 seconds remaining to put the Tigers up 55-53 and the Tigers held on to defeat the Cajuns 55-54 to advance to the Newman Invitational Tournament championship game.
The Tigers (7-3) played from behind most of the game and allowed Country Day to go on several runs that could’ve killed their chances. Hahnville never gave up, however, and continued to fight behind the 18-point effort of Claudell Harris Jr.
In the end it was good enough for the Tigers to earn their third come-from-behind victory in as many days.
“This whole tournament has been about resilience,” Tigers coach Yussef Jasmine said. “The first day against Brother Martin was a comeback. (Thursday) we started off slow against Newman and then we picked it up. This game (against Country Day) led most of the way but my guys were very resilient even though one of our best players didn’t even play in the second half because he was injured. Anytime you can fight and play like that, you have to tip your hats off to the team. Everybody fought.”
The Cajuns (4-3) had a chance to take it after the dagger by Grows as Shawn Royal was fouled with 10 seconds remaining and went to the line. He made the first free throw to cut the deficit to 55-54, but missed the second one.
After Country Day intentionally fouled Harris, he was sent to the line where he couldn’t convert the opportunity into points, giving Country Day one last chance to claim victory with 6.5 seconds remaining. The Cajuns got the ball down the court, but Justin Ibieta’s shot went off the rim as time expired, giving Hahnville the win.
Though disappointed, Cajuns coach Mike McGuire said he was impressed with his team’s effort given that many members of his team have only been practicing a few days after having played on the football team until last Saturday.
“I think we definitely improved as a team with this tournament,” McGuire said. “We beat a very good Lusher team, a very good Jesuit team and fought this team until the last possession so we got a lot out of this tournament and we’ll learn from it. It’s disappointing of course because if we had hit our free throws we would’ve won but Hahnville came back in each of their games, they’re very resilient, well coached and they deserved to win.”
Hahnville will play the winner of the Karr-St. Augustine semifinal matchup on Saturday for a chance to be crowed tournament champions.