Donaldsonville rallies, earns third straight district victory

Kyle Riviere
Ladarius Jackson came up with 6 points in Donaldsonville's comeback victory over Lusher on Tuesday night. Photo by Kyle Riviere.

Due of foul trouble, Donaldsonville big man Everett Wilson didn’t spend a whole lot of time on the floor for the Tigers in their Tuesday night district matchup with Lusher Charter. But when he was occupying the paint, he proved to be the difference for Donaldsonville.

Wilson scored 8 timely points and grabbed many tough rebounds down the stretch in the second half to help the Tigers fight back from 9 down and capture their fourth straight victory.

“Lusher is a good team. They had a lot to do with how we played in the first half,” Donaldsonville head coach Lionel Gilbert said. “They made a ton of threes, they run some good stuff offensively and they did a good job taking away our inside game. We just had to stay patient and keep working to establish that inside presence. Once we got that going, everything else opened up and we were able to re-establish ourselves and play the type of game we wanted to play."

In the first quarter, the Tiger offense was sloppy and struggling to make shots. This allowed Lusher to take the early lead.

However, James Gipson kept it from turning into a runaway. He came up with an and-one play, then stole a ball and converted a layup at the buzzer to get Donaldsonville within 16-10 heading to the second.

The second quarter was ugly for the Tigers. They were very careless with the basketball, and at one point, they turned it over on four straight possessions.

Coach Gilbert said they were playing too much “me-ball” instead of “we-ball.”

During this poor stretch, Lusher was able to take their biggest lead of the game at 9, but once again, Gipson kept Donaldsonville close.

He drilled an NBA-range 3-pointer at the buzzer to trim the deficit to 26-20 at the half.

In the final 16 minutes, Donaldsonville’s inside game woke up.

Dwayne Johnson came up with two straight buckets in the paint, and Deantre Poe made two more to complete a 13-3 run that gave the Tigers their first lead at 30-29.

Wilson had to sit out for almost the entire first half after getting two quick fouls. He came in midway through the third quarter and immediately scored 4 points to give the Tigers their biggest lead.

Lusher went on a 7-0 run to regain a 1-point advantage, but in the waning seconds of the third quarter, Ladarius Jackson came up with a steal and got the ball to Gipson. For the third straight quarter, he made a shot at the buzzer to give the Tigers a 40-39 advantage.

The final period was back-and-forth between the two teams, with numerous lead changes.

Down 3, Wilson came through with two straight baskets to put Donaldsonville ahead. A basket by Jackson and a free throw by Poe pushed the lead to 3.

In the end, the Tigers were able to make some huge defensive stops, Wilson grabbed some key rebounds and free throws by Gipson iced the game. Donaldsonville finished off the 52-47 victory.

Gipson led the way for the Tigers with 12 points. Poe wasn’t far behind with 11, and Johnson had 9. Despite playing limited minutes, Wilson finished with 8.

"He's (Wilson) been playing well,” Gilbert said. “He's still trying to figure it out on the defensive end as far as how to stay on the floor without committing fouls. Once he matures on the defensive end, he's going to be a hell of a player. He's getting better every day, and he makes us a better basketball team when he's playing the right way."

After beginning the season with a 5-14 record, the Tigers have now won four straight games—which includes a 3-0 start in District 10-3A.

"I think in our pre-district schedule, we battled a lot of tough programs. We do every year,” Gilbert said. “Some years, you're going to start off hot, and some years you won't. This year, I think inexperience had a lot to do with where we are overall, as far as our record is concerned. One of our goals from way back in April was that we wanted to be playing our best basketball in January, and we've been working toward that."