Lady Tigers, Bulldogs battle to the end

Players from Donaldsonville High and Ascension Catholic’s girl’s basketball team get physical for the ball last Tuesday in the DHS 40-37 win over ACHS.

Donaldsonville High girls basketball team went to Ascension Catholic last Tuesday and avenged the loss the Bulldogs gave the Tigers at the DHS Jamboree earlier this season. DHS beat ACHS 40-37 in a tough drawn-out battle that had both sides struggling offensively.

ACHS got out to the early lead in the game while all DHS could do was turn the ball over and give away easy fast break points to the Bulldogs. However, DHS head coach Amy Blanchard wanted to give ACHS a taste of its own medicine and pick up the tempo and force the Bulldogs to rush back on defense. In the beginning, Blanchard said it “back-fired,” because the faster pace caused more turnovers.

“We did all right once we settled down and got a lead and got comfortable,” Blanchard said. “Both teams were so evenly matched, and they both wanted it.”

“It was a good game to watch. They had a lot of turnovers, a lot of missed shots. I’m glad we came out with the win.”

At the end of the first half, DHS led 25-21, but the game could still go either way. In the second half the Tigers pushed the lead up to as many as 10 points in the fourth quarter. ACHS wouldn’t give in though.

“In the beginning, we did execute the way I wanted to,” Shawancy Joseph said, ACHS head coach. “I think towards the end, emotions started rising, fans getting into the game and I think that’s what caught us up. Other than that, we had a good chance to pull out.”

Leading the two teams were freshmen. For DHS, Kaylyn Foster finished tied for a team-high 10 points, and for ACHS Rae’Shaun Malancon led with 14 points. Both freshmen struggled in the beginning, but as the game went on there were moments when they exchanged shot-for-shot. Both coaches acknowledged the battle between the freshmen and recognize it could go on for the next four years.

“It’s going to be really good because they both have a clue about the game,” Blanchard said. “They both know the game, they just have to grow into their ability. You can see they haven’t even scratched the surface.”

Joseph was already familiar with DHS’s Foster and said she coached her before.

“I think she’s a real good player,” Joseph said. “She has a lot of talent is she is going to be something to work with in the near future.”

The Tigers couldn’t pull away with the win without help from their senior Patrice West, who struggled to get open for easy looks. A lot of times she stood at the top of the key waiting for the ball to come her way.

“She just thought she could stay at the high post and wait and kick it out,” Blanchard said, “but nobody was moving and it got a little stagnant.”

Once West got moving, she got hot. She finished the game with 10 points and helped to hold off the late comeback the Bulldogs barking for.

“I was glad we kept our composure, stayed cool and pulled it out,” Blanchard said.

ACHS’s defense locked down in the fourth quarter and Malancon’s hot shooting help close the gap on a 10-point gap and brought the game within three points.

“The defense did step up,” Joseph said. “Offensively, we struggled shooting the ball and towards the end, and we tried to play catch up and when we finally did it was too late.

As far as Malancon’s strong performance at the end, Joseph kept giving her the green light to shoot the ball.

“She struggled first through third quarters,” Joseph said. “I kept telling her, shooters are going to keep shooting, and great players are going to find other ways to make the game come easy to them. I told her in the fourth quarter if her shot isn’t going in, go to the goal.”