Down to the wire

DERON TALLEY, EDITOR
Donaldsonville High guard, Anthony Jackson dribbles past a defender in the double overtime loss against Glen Oaks last week.

How you start determines how you finish and for the Donaldsonville High boy’s basketball team (6-9) learned that first hand last week in its double overtime 61-54 loss against Glen Oaks High.

The Tigers came out shaky against a tough Glen Oaks defensive press that forced some early turnovers for DHS. The Tigers finally got control of the rhythm of the game with some easy buckets by junior Jalen Pedescleaux.

Pedescleaux showed up big for the Tigers on both ends of the floor, finishing the game with 14 points and six blocks. He seemed to be the one Tiger who got the memo that head coach Barry Whittington is looking for a team leader. Two players who didn’t get the memo were guards Anthony Jackson and Braxton Bernard who showed up late for shoot around and were pulled out of the starting lineup.

Whittington went with two younger guys, Dairion Jenkins and Jiren Mitchell who played solid minutes for DHS.

The game came down to the last minute and a half as the Tigers held a two-point lead and looked to have control to take the lead. But Glen Oaks had other plans. Glen Oaks’ point guard J. Variste tied the game at 48 with less than a minute to play after an untimely turnover by Anthony Jackson. Glen Oaks came back for the go-ahead bucket to win the game, but Variste was rejected by Pedescleaux to send the game into overtime.

“There’s a rule on our team that he’s the only person on our team that I allow to block shots,” Whittington said about Pedescleaux’s shot-blocking ability. “He times it well and he has very long arms, so that’s his thing. That’s part of his job for us is to do that.”

In the overtime period, the teams were back at square and resembled scores again after Pedescleaux rebounded a missed shot by Jaquel Gant and tips it in to tie the game at 54 and force the second overtime.

“Those were some big time shots that he made,” Whittington said about Pedescleaux’s offensive performance. “Hopefully he can build on that as far as leadership. Going into district we are going to need somebody to step up because we are still searching for [a leader].”

In the second overtime, Glen Oaks went into a freeze offense. They milked the first two minutes of the period off the clock, leaving two minutes to play. They scored on the possession and on the ensuing Tiger possession Jackson was called for a charge and turned the ball over. Whittington didn’t point the blame at Jackson for the turnovers, but said the team took shots when they could have milked the clock and held on for the win before the overtime periods.

“It’s more to it than just his turnovers,” Whittington said about Jackson’s late turnovers, “they were untimely, but the character of this basketball team is still being formed, we don’t have leadership.”

“It’s unfortunate that it had to happen to him, but team-wise we didn’t play very smart at the end of the game.”

Whittington said Glen Oaks’ decision to take two minutes off the clock in the second overtime was a “smart move.”

“I guess he felt like he had the upper hand,” Whittington said. “I guess my guys were a little bit tired mentally and I wanted to let them rest instead of just chasing them for four minutes. It turned out to work for him. It was a gamble. We had a couple of defensive breakdowns. Guys were coming up too high.”

Whittington added: “I’m glad we’re fighting. I’d like to turn these fights into W’s. If we were taking stats for almost winning, we’d have a lot of almost wins, but they don’t have that category they have wins and losses. It’s going to boil down to people wanting to make things happen.”