Donaldsonville ends season in losing skid

Kyle Riviere
kriviere@weeklycitizen.com
Donaldsonville's Jacoby Simon (No. 1) and Brusly's DJ Jones (No. 33) fight for a rebound. Photo by Kyle Riviere.

Donaldsonville was trying to pick up a big district victory and head into the playoffs with some momentum last Tuesday night at home, but Brusly once again proved to be too strong.

The Panthers took a lead at the end of the first quarter, and they never relinquished it. The Tigers made several runs throughout the game, but Brusly always responded. In the end, they beat Donaldsonville for a second time this year--this time, by a score of 74-66.

"You have to take your hat off to those guys. They came ready to play," Tiger head coach Lionel Gilbert said. "They had an answer for everything that we threw at them. We made a push, and then they'd make a push.

"We didn't have an answer for them inside. They scored probably 60 or 70 percent of their buckets in the paint. That was the difference. They did a great job of working it down low."

The Tigers came into the contest winners of four of their previous five games and looking to avenge a 64-60 loss to Brusly from last month.

After scoring the first basket, Donaldsonville fell into an early hole as the Panthers went on a 10-0 run.

The 8-point deficit was quickly trimmed down to 2 after a 3-pointer by Jacoby Simon and an and-one play by Braxton Bernard.

The Tigers kept the momentum going. James Gipson got out in front in transition and threw down a contested dunk that ignited the crowd and contributed to an 11-0 Donaldsonville run that gave them a 13-10 lead.

However, Brusly responded with 4 quick points to carry a 14-13 lead into the second quarter. They would never trail again.

The Panthers began the second with a quick 6-2 spurt. Their lead eventually ballooned to 10.

Gipson knocked down two jumpers to help Donaldsonville respond with a 6-0 run that trimmed the deficit to 4, but due to turnovers and Brusly second-chance points, they couldn't get any closer.

Behind the dominance of DJ Jones down low, the Panthers led, 37-31, at the break. He had 13 in the first 16 minutes. Gipson kept the Tigers in it with 16 points of his own.

Brusly had a strong start to the third quarter. They went on a 12-6 run to grasp their biggest lead of the game at 13. Donaldsonville cut it to 9 on a few occasions but could never get closer until the closing moments.

The Tigers finished the period on a 5-0 flurry that culminated in an and-one play down low by Simon. It cut the Brusly lead down to 56-51 heading into the fourth.

Jones began the final period with a jumper that pushed the lead to 8.

Gipson tried his best to keep the Tigers in it. He drilled two 3-pointers to get the deficit down to 5, but that's as close as Donaldsonville would get.

Jasper Queen had a huge fourth quarter for the Panthers. He and Jones were able to close out a 74-66 victory.

"I think we settled too much for jumpshots, opposed to attacking the rim," Gilbert said. "We only shot three free throws in the first half. We should have been going inside and getting layups."

Brusly did what they wanted down low. They had four players score at least 12 points. Jones had a game-high 24, Queen had 19, Jason Holiday had 17 and Michael Bryant finished with 12.

Donaldsonville had three players score in double-figures. Gipson led the way with 24, Bernard had 17 and Simon added 15. Davon Johnson chipped in with 7.

It was the second straight loss for the Tigers as their record dropped to 6-7 in the brutal new District 6-3A. The competition has been fierce all season.

"You just have to be ready; you have to be tough," Gilbert said. "Every night is a challenge; every night has been fun. It always comes down to which team can stay focused for four quarters and which team can make the simple plays. Every night, you have to be mentally and physically tough."

The Tigers followed up their loss to Brusly with another defeat in the regular season finale against Port Allen.

The four-game skid dropped Donaldsonville into the No. 27 spot for the playoffs. In the first round, they'll visit No. 6 Carroll--a team that went 24-7 during the regular season.