Donaldsonville gets eliminated in the first round

Kyle Riviere
kriviere@weeklycitizen.com
Braxton Bernard led Donaldsonville with 10 points in their first-round loss to Carroll. Photo by Kyle Riviere.

The Donaldsonville Tigers were able to squeeze into the 3A playoffs, but their journey for a state title ended rather abruptly as they were blown out by sixth-seeded Carroll on the road, 60-31, last Friday night.

The Tigers had an eventful season with many ups and downs from the very start.

They had to begin the year without last year's leading scorer Braxton Bernard. After transferring to Madison Prep last offseason and then transferring back to Donaldsonville, he didn't make his return until the ninth game of the year--a 60-54 victory over parish foe Dutchtown.

Also, Donaldsonville had to go without returning starter Stephen Sullivan. Sullivan signed on to play football at LSU during the early signing period. This allowed him to enroll for the spring semester in Baton Rouge--ending his high-school athletic career.

The Tigers played a very tough non-district schedule that featured 5A teams like East Ascension, Destrehan and St. Amant and a 4A playoff team in Plaquemine.

Heading into district play, Donaldsonville was 8-7 overall.

It was the fist season the Tigers played in the newly formed District 6-3A. It turned out to be a brutal league that contained seven playoff teams.

During the season, head coach Lionel Gilbert had this to say about the tough new district: "You just have to be ready; you have to be tough. 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."

Toward the end of the year, Donaldsonville was able to build some momentum with an impressive three-game winning streak that featured victories over Glen Oaks, West Feliciana and Parkview Baptist.

However, they limped into the playoffs with three straight losses against University Lab, Brusly and Port Allen.

The three-game skid dropped the Tigers to the No. 27 slot for the playoffs. It forced them to make a long road trip to Monroe to face sixth-seeded Carroll--a team that went 24-7 this season.

In the road matchup, Donaldsonville struggled from start to finish.

The Bulldog defense was suffocating as they held the Tigers to just two field goals in the first quarter. Though, Donaldsonville's inability to score didn't end there.

The Tigers only scored one field goal in the second period. With the lack of offensive production, they trailed, 27-11, at the break.

From there, it was all Bulldogs. They never relinquished their huge lead and ran away from Donaldsonville, 60-31. The 31 points marked the Tigers' lowest production of the season.

They had no answer for Carroll's Larry Owens. He finished with a game-high 24 points, while pulling down 12 rebounds. Senderious Pratt chipped in with 10 points for the Bulldogs.

Donaldsonville's leading scorer was Bernard. He was held in check for just 10 points.

The victory pushed Carroll into the next round for a home clash against 11th-seeded Albany. Albany beat Lusher, 53-40, in the opening round.

As for Donaldsonville, their season ends after just one playoff game for the first time in three years. They end the season with an overall record of 14-16.