Bulldogs top Tigers in crosstown bout

Michael Tortorich
Donaldsonville Chief

All the intensity one would expect from a meeting between schools separated by a mere mile-and-a-half distance was in the atmosphere Friday night.

In front of a packed crowd, neither team was able to pull away by more than a six-point lead.

Ascension Catholic’s defensive play ultimately held off Donaldsonville, 61-58, in the closing seconds.

Donaldsonville’s Lawrence Forcell, who led the Tigers with 19 points, hit a shot with 33 seconds remaining, and sank a 3-pointer with 18 seconds left to pull his team within two points. Ascension Catholic’s Jack Abadie tacked on a free throw, and the Bulldogs were able to defend their three-point lead in the last 11 seconds.

Ascension Catholic head coach Kylon Green said he was proud of the way his team battled in the back-and-forth contest.

“I think they did a wonderful job down the stretch,” Green said. “We kept our composure in a hostile environment. We’re a young team, like I’ve said before. We start three sophomores, and play two freshmen. Two seniors led us to the finish line.”

Demarco Harry led the Bulldogs with 19 points. J’Mond Tapp finished with 14, while Troy Cole and Demontray Harry each recorded nine. Eric Simon added a 3-pointer, while Khai Prean chipped in two, and Abadie had one.

Clenard Mollere contributed 14 points for the Tigers. Quinntaz Dabney, Tyriell North, and Raeland Johnson each had four. Kavon Foster added two.

Donaldsonville head coach Lionel Gilbert said his team missed opportunities to take control of the game.

“It just comes down to making shots,” Gilbert said. “We didn’t do a good job of stopping penetration. We didn’t do a good job of just being patient and attacking the zone like we were supposed to. I give my hat off to them. Ascension Catholic played a good game. They came in with a good game plan. Coach Green is doing a good job over there.”

Donaldsonville held a 12-10 lead after the first quarter, but the Bulldogs bounced back to take a 29-25 lead into the locker room at the half. Forcell made an acrobatic shot while being fouled late in the second quarter. He completed the three-point play to pull the Tigers within two.

Demarco Harry hit a put-back shot at the buzzer to extend the Bulldogs’ lead to four at the break.

Donaldsonville continued to battle in the second half, holding a 43-39 lead going into the fourth quarter. Cole’s lay-up early in the final quarter tied the game, then Demarco Harry’s shot gave the Bulldogs a lead they would not relinquish the rest of the way.

Demontray Harry completed a key three-point play with 2:45 remaining. Points from Mollere and Forcell kept the Tigers in the game down the final stretch.

With 1:28 to go, Tapp made a strong move to the hoop while being fouled. His three-point play gave the Bulldogs a five-point advantage.

“Give Donaldsonville all the credit in the world,” Green said. “They’re a tough 3A team. I expect them to make some noise in the playoffs. At the same time, I’m happy to get out of here with a win. It was a very exciting win for me, and we’re moving forward with the program.”

“It was a good basketball atmosphere,” Gilbert added. “I enjoyed it. I’m sure the kids and the fans enjoyed it. It was good for the city.”