Tigers retaliate, tame Wildcats 63-44

DHS’ Braxton Bernard with an easy two points in the win against St. James last week in Donaldsonville.

Teachers always say if you do your homework you’ll pass the test. DHS Tigers basketball head coach Barry Whittington certainly did his and passed the test with ease as his team cruised to a 63-44 victory over rivals St. James Friday night in Donaldsonville.

The two teams matched up earlier in the season in St. James where the Tigers weren’t able to hang on for the win. In Friday’s contest, Whittington was prepared for the Wildcats.

“I saw some things on film that we didn’t do,” Whittington said. “We didn’t stick to our game plan. This time we stuck to it.”

Indeed the team did as it led throughout most of the entire game. At the half, the Tigers were on top 35-16 and the crowd had already seen a Jalen Pedescleaux two-handed dunk. The fans showed up early and filled the gym. Both schools represented well and the rivalry between them can’t be disputed as the crowd often went into dance battles to celebrate key turns of the game’s momentum.

“It’s a great feeling playing at home,” Whittington said. “When we play at home, the atmosphere is so much different, people are right on top of you. They had a lot of people here.”

DHS’ Jaquel Gant kept the Tigers in front for most of the game, but the in the crucial moments it was Jeremy Jones and Braxton Bernard who sealed the deal and secured the win for the Tigers. Bernard led the team with 17 points, Jones finished with 16, and Gant added another 15 to complete a trio of double-figure scorers for DHS.

“Jeremy (Jones) is a hell of a basketball player,” Whittington said. “He’s been growing. He had to get back in the groove of things. This is only his tenth game of the season, so him coming through and we had the crowd going is a wonderful experience and I’m glad he was able to step up for us.”

Jones closed out the fourth quarter for the Tigers where he scored the majority of his points, including an and-one play that pushed the lead to 61-42 with 3:08 left on the clock.

“Coach said work hard on defense, run the offense and stick to the game plan,” Jones said about his fourth quarter effort.

By then, the dagger had already been dropped on the Wildcats though. Bernard’s corner three-pointer with 5:10 in the fourth quarter let the air out St. James fans’ balloon, while Tiger fans cheered.

“Braxton lives for big shots like that,” Whittington said. “He’s hit a lot of big shots for us before, so once he hit that shot we were able to kind of relax a little bit and just play game and let it be over with.”

Before the game started, the Tigers honored their only senior Drew Rosemond for Senior Night. Rosemond played on the team for four years and it was his time to be honored. In the game Rosemond only tabbed two points off of free throws, but his defensive pressure and spirit were at a high.

“Drew came in tonight and he’s been fighting for playing time and got it tonight and made some good defensive stops and key baskets at the free throw line,” Whittington said about Rosemond.

Whittington added: “It’s a great feel for the guys to get this win against a rival. The war is not over as far as district. We might have to play them again if Port Allen beats Brusly. Then we will have to go to a four-way tie again.”