Northwest falls in parish tournament
By Michael Barron
Daily World Sports Correspondent
The North Central Hurricanes flexed their basketball muscle in a grand way Friday night. The Hurricanes defeated the Northwest Raiders 54-37 in semifinal action of the parish tournament.
The ball game was close for much of the first half, as both teams were doing what they do best. North Central was using its size to an advantage, while Northwest used its quickness and speed to get up and down the floor. The first half would end in a 22-19 score, in favor of the Hurricanes.
The second half was a much different story. The Hurricane press seemed to buckle under the Raider offense and cause numerous turnovers. Northwest couldn't get anything offensively going in the second half. North Central was able to control the tempo and make the turnovers of the Raiders hurt.
"We played pretty good the first half," Northwest coach Donald Dupree said. "We came out in the second half and laid an egg. We didn't take care of the basketball tonight. They deserved to win, they played better than we did tonight."
The Hurricanes were able to control the points in the paint with play from center, Chris Robinson. Robinson finished the game with 16 points and a number of them were critical second shots. He was able to dictate the play of the Raiders on the inside as well.
"We did what our coach said," Robinson said. "He told us to pound the ball inside. If we couldn't get it inside, our guards did a good job of penetrating and shooting outside. We just wanted to execute (the game plan) so we could get to the championship."
The game plan of the Hurricanes was just that, pound the ball with big man inside and let his guards do the penetrating. The plan turned out to be the right one.
"We wanted to get Chris in the flow of the game," North Central coach Butch Fontenot said. "Get him started off and then let Lennox (Bates) and Theodore (Chambers) go."
The Hurricanes defense seemed to stagnate the Raider offense. At one point the Hurricanes went on a 8-0 run, when the Raiders were still within reach, where Northwest couldn't get the ball of the half-court line. It was this terrific defense that propelled the Hurricanes into the championship game.
"I think our pressure defense got to Northwest," Fontenot said. "That enabled us to get a little lead on them. Some of those turnovers were very key because they were right there (in the game), but we got a couple of quick turnovers that put us back aboard again. "
Fontenot believes a greater depth from his team could've been a major factor in the ball game.
"They are a fine ball club," Fontenot said. "I believe they got a little tired. We had a little more depth tonight."
Now, the Hurricanes will have to take that pressure defense and use it on an opponent that has beaten them before. The Hurricanes will face off against a Opelousas High team that beat them last weekend.
"We are looking forward to the match-up," Robinson said. "They beat us last Saturday in the Beau Chene tournament. It's going to be a good game."
His coach agreed with those sentiments fully.
"We are definitely looking forward to this match-up," Fontenot added. "It's always a pleasure playing OHS. They are a quality ball club, so our hands are full."