Lowery Middle basketball knocks out Gonzales Middle

Lowery Middle eighth-grader Janira Collier gets fancy after some contact to score a lay-up in the win against Gonzales Middle.

Never let the kids fight your battles, but when your talking basketball it's best to let them duke it out on the hardwood. That's what Donaldsonville and Gonzales did, when their middle school boys and girls basketball teams went head-to-head last week at Lowery Middle School in Donaldsonville. Lowery Middle boys won 45-35, and the girls won 52-12.

The boy's took the court first and Gonzales came out swinging with a quick 7-0 lead to start the game. Head coach Paul Barrious said he wasn't too worried about it at the time.

"We were looking to see what they were in," Barrious said about the slow start. "We were also trying to figure out ourselves because I wanted to execute the right play. Once I knew that they were in an aggressive zone, I knew that our big men could post up down low and that's what we were trying to feed almost all night."

At the half, the Lowery Tigers led 18-15 and the fans showed a lot of excitement about the closeness of the game. To start the second half, Gonzales got a little scrappy and physical with the Tigers and were whistled for some early fouls. Unfortunately, Lowery didn't make them pay for the fouls at the free throw line, but still were able to maintain the lead.

"First of all it showed, what we were doing was working," Barrious said about the fouls, "because they were starting to lose their rhythm and they were starting to do the ticky tack fouls. But, it was good to see our scheme was coming through. Of course it's aggravating as a coach because we practice free throws."

The fans and the players weren't the only ones who got antsy with excitement at the game. Barrious wasn't shy with his emotions either.

"I found that the more excited I get, the more it lives through my kids," Barrious said. "Not that they have a problem getting excited, but I can bring that aspect to liven them up in a dead moment to get them focused in the game."

"The things I'm saying are positive things. I'm never coming down on kids, it's always productive and a positive comment to the kids."

Leading the way for Lowery boys were the two big men on the floor, Jacoby Simon and Kaleb Phillips, who both finished with 14 points. Simon carried the team early and Phillips found his stride late.

"I really have to give it to Kaleb Phillips, he came through in a big way," Barrious said. "He missed a couple early, but then he just kind of decided enough was enough and started putting them. He was at the right place at the right time, which was a big deal for him. I was really proud of him."

In the girl's game, Gonzales put up a tough fight, but it didn't reflect on the scoreboard. Lowery took off to an 11-point lead and never looked back. That was the closest the game would ever be. Head coach Xavier Rawls said he didn't expect the game to come out to be 52-12.

"No, I heard Gonzales was pretty good and they had me shook up for a little bit when I saw they had a little height on us" Rawls said, who is in his first year as head coach. "But, when we got rolling and basically plays, they did very well on offense, fast break points, stopped them on defense and pressed well. So, I really just think mentally we out-beat them."

Eighth-grader Janira Collier had the hot-hand for the girl's team. She finished the game with 19 points, despite having limited minutes.

Rawls pulled his starters out every three minutes of each six-minute quarter, but said there are still some things his team needs to work on.

"Rebounding," Rawls said. "I haven't had much practice since I've started working with them, so rebounding and getting back on defense.

Rawls added, "I want them to be the best, so whatever I can do to get them to be the best, that's my main goal. But rebounding, we have to fix that."