Tigers roar past Pelicans 64-58

DERON TALLEY, EDITOR @dvillechief
DHS’s Jamal Jones (35) directs the Tiger offense in the win against Port Allen Friday night.

When you’re sitting in position to win the district title, and you share the seat with three other teams you get antsy and emotional. In Friday night’s 64-58 win for the DHS Tigers (6-2 district) over the Port Allen Pelicans (5-3 district) the two teams got physical and emotional, but were able to maintain tempers after both receiving technical fouls. However, the Tigers almost let the intensity get the most of them when a technical was called after fouling a Pelican three-point shooter giving him an attempt for five free throws with less than four minutes remaining and a 50-44 Tiger lead. That closed the lead to 50-48 and Port Allen was able to eventually tie the game at 50, but DHS pulled away again and to go on and win the game 64-58.

“You have 16 – 17 year old kids and everybody wants to win, we’re going to get emotional,” DHS head coach Barry Whittington said. “I’m glad we didn’t get out of hand. It’s something we have to look at and talk about in the future. It’s not bad to have some of these emotions; they wanted to win.”

The Pelicans jumped out to a quick 4-0 lead in the first quarter and the Tigers tried to make up ground by firing some three-pointers. Eventually Jaquel Gant and Jamal Jones got the Tigers rolling and by the end of the quarter DHS was up 14-12.

In the second quarter the pace slowed down and the physical play set in. The emotions got high and the fans’ feedback only intensified the atmosphere. Port Allen’s fans started to give Whittington an ear-full, but at the end of the game Whittington shook hands with the Pelican fan.

“I loved it. Port Allen has great fans,” Whittington said about the fans yelling at him. “The guy that I met, he talks trash to me all the time and I really like it. It’s probably one of the most fun things about games is interacting with the fans in a respected manner.”

The Tigers’ had a game plan to get a lead and try to limit Port Allen’s guard Nick Parker’s shots. They did well with getting and controlling the lead, but Parker had his way scoring a game-high 26 points.

For the Tigers, Jamal Jones led the team with 25 points and many big plays down the stretch, while Jaquel Gant scored 18 to help put away the Pelicans. With the district title on the line, the game went down to the wire and the Pelicans fouled to put the Tigers on the free throw.

“We planned to put our best free throw shooters in when we’re on offense and best defender on defense. It paid dividends for us,” Whittington said. “Jeremy was in foul trouble but Leandre and Anthony are pretty good defenders. I just tried to mix and match for the right ingredients.”

In the closing seconds of the game James and Gant pressured the Pelicans into a turnover that led to easy points for the Tigers and the dagger that sealed the win.

“We lost the game, that’s all you need to know,” Port Allen head coach Brandon Ricard said at the end of the game.

Whittington added, ”Everybody come out for our home game against St. James Friday.”

The Tigers play their season finale and senior night on Friday, Nov. 8 against rivals St. James Wildcats.