Donaldsonville boys’ hoops lose home-opener in OT, 54-52

DERON TALLEY, EDITOR @DeRonTalley
DHS’ Stephon Sullivan was able to rock the rim a few times in the team’s loss to White Castle Monday night.

The Donaldsonville Tigers (2-2) basketball team dropped its home-opener in overtime to White Castle 54-52 in a game where junior Braxton Bernard scored 20 points, but the team still struggled to find its identity.

First year head coach Lionel Gilbert said the team shot itself in the foot with giving up too many offensive rebounds and second chance shots.

“Time and time again we just didn’t clear the defensive boards, and on our end we didn’t finish at the free throw line,” Gilbert said. “You can’t play winning basketball when you’re giving teams second chance shots.”

At the end of the first quarter, DHS led 15-10 but couldn’t maintain the lead stretches throughout the second quarter and only held a three-point advantage at halftime, 23-20.

“We had opportunities in the first half to extend the lead but we just didn’t finish,” Gilbert said. “We have to find our identity, luckily it’s still early in the year.”

After the break White Castle came out with resurgence and quickly took the lead, forcing a Tigers’ timeout. After the timeout, Bernard rallied a rebound and dribbled rim-to-rim and flushed home a one-handed slam to give the Tigers a 31-30 lead. But, excessive celebration was called against Bernard and with the technical gave White Castle free throws and the ball to retake the lead.

At the end of the third quarter, DHS trailed 39-38.

In the fourth quarter, White Castle tried to push out ahead and led as many as four but Donaldsonville would not go away and forced overtime with the score tied at 48.

In overtime, White Castle again jumped out early but the Tigers continued to hang around. With under a minute to play in the extra quarter Stephen Sullivan and Bernard went back-to-back on dunks to close the four-point gap. However it would not be enough.

“We’re just getting guys off the football field and it’s difficult,” Gilbert said. “They are overthinking it and not playing the game. Time will take care of those things. You can’t question the hustle; you can’t question their heart and determination. If we keep playing hard like that we will be alright.”

DHS’ Aaron Julien finished the night with 12 points at the point guard position, and Sullivan finished with 10 points at center. The Tigers missed senior guard Jeremy Jones for the third straight game due to a knee injury. Gilbert said the team is waiting for an MRI to determine if and when Jones will return.

The Tigers will return to action to host Amite on Dec. 16.