Rams outlast Tigers in semis

DHS’ sophomore guard Braxton Bernard dribbles out of a trap against Richood in the Tigers’ loss in the semifinal round of the LHSAA 3A playoffs.

After trailing Richwood 47-35 at the end of the third quarter, DHS hoped to make a major run in the closing quarter to advance to the LHSAA 3A Championship game. The Tigers did.

With 6:16 to play in the fourth quarter, senior Jermial Jones scooped in a layup to pull the Tigers within two points, trailing the Rams 49-47. However the gas had run out of the tank for DHS as Richwood would respond and not look back, eventually beating the Tigers 72-56 Thursday at the Burton Coliseum in Lake Charles.

DHS head coach Barry Whittington said he was proud of the way his team played, and added the score got inflated after it became a “free throw fest” in the last few minutes.

“I’m obviously disappointed in the outcome but I think we were prepared and came up with an excellent game plan and if some shots had fallen our way the outcome may have been different,” Whittington said, completing his second season as the Tigers’ leader.

“The biggest thing I’m disappointed in is the fact that these guys that are seniors I’ll never be able to coach them again. I’ve been coaching them since I was 23 years old and I’m 29 now and it’s probably the most disappointing feeling that I won’t be able to coach them,” Whittington said.

At the end of the first quarter the two teams were knotted at 14 and DHS only trailed two going into halftime and had some momentum. Junior guard Jeremy Jones was leading the way for the Tigers coming off of the bench to score 14 points in the first half. He would finished the game with 18 points, while Jeremial Jones was the only other Tiger to score double-digit numbers with 15 points and add seven rebounds.

Whittington said he felt as though his team was underrated the entire season and “I felt like honestly people didn’t think we deserved to be here.”

“I think we got a little bit of respect and if I had to give one thing to my guys I’ve been telling them the entire year you deserve to be here,” Whittington said.

The Tigers battled the Rams until the closing minutes of the fourth, leading by as much as four points and never trailing by more than six. Much of the effort was anchored by the defense that was led by sophomore Stephen Sullivan who had the task of facing off with Richwood’s Reginal “Monsta” Johnson.

“I just tried to protect everything in the paint and like coach said deny and play defense because defense wins championships,” Sullivan said in his effort to hold Johnson to 6-18 shooting from the field, blocking two shots and forcing a steal on another possession.

Jermial Jones despite the loss it felt great to make the run with his team in his final season as a Tiger.

“I’m proud of my team and I love how were took it to the Top 28 and wish we could’ve gone to the championship,” Jones said.

Whittington added: "Their experience in this kind of came out at the end. We were just kindof wide-eyed and happy to be here. I don't think we played like we were happy to be here. I think we played to win, but at the end when they made those runs, it showed they had a little bit more experience in games like this and stages like that, and they had a little extra motivation after missing it last year."