Hurricanes take second
North Central earns hard-fought win over Red Devils

By Tom Dodge

LEBEAU - Working their way to the playoffs was a lot harder than North Central head coach Butch Fontenot wanted.

The Hurricanes (23-7, 8-4) went into the last week of the regular season in sole possession of second place in District 7-2A, only dropping a pair of games to Jeanerette.

Add the forfeit of two games due to an ineligible player and the Hurricanes had to win Friday night against Port Barre (5-18, 2-9) to stay in second place.

The Red Devils were determined to make the Hurricanes earn its share of second place as North Central battled to a 72-62 win Friday night in Lebeau.

Opelousas Catholic defeated Pointe Coupee Central 67-54 to give the Hurricanes sole possession of second place in the district.

OC will face PCC again 6 p.m. Monday at North Central to determine third place in the district.

"We happy with the win but we are a much better team than we showed tonight," Fontenot said of his Hurricanes.

"We have been a second half team all year and we were that way again," he said. "They out hustled us in the first half."

Photo by David Gremillion
North Central's Kennard Tanner is fouled by Port Barre's Ryan Robie during Friday's game.
"I am proud of the effort the guys gave," Port Barre head coach William Davis said. "The last time we played North Central they beat us by 35-plus. We came into their gym and gave them a scare."

North Central jumped out to a 7-3 first quarter lead, sparked by a drive in the lane and three pointer by Curtis Andrus.

The Hurricanes mounted a 12-4 run, aided by a pair of blocks by Marcus Louis and coast-to-coast buckets by Andrus for a 19-7 North Central advantage.

But the Red Devils stormed back with a couple of shots by Everett Martin to spark a 8-0 run and closed the gap to 19-15.

The two teams continued to battle in the second period as North Central pushed ahead 25-19 with a stingy defense and timely buckets.

But the Red Devils stormed back once again with a 6-2 run to close the gap to 27-25 with 3:35 left before intermission.

The Hurricanes responded with a 9-3 run, including a slam dunk from Kenard Tanner as North Central forged ahead 35-28 late in the period.

Port Barre mounted a 6-0 run in the last minute of the half to pull within a point, 35-34, aided by two buckets from Josh Thomas.

The Red Devils came out of the locker room scorching for a 6-2 run to take its first lead of the game, 41-39.

North Central responded with a 11-0 explosion including seven points from Marcus Louis as the Hurricanes retook a 50-41 advantage with 2:01 left in the third period.

Port Barre closed out the third stanza with a 7-2 run, sparked by a dunk from Henry Noel as the Red Devils closed the gap to 52-48.

After Port Barre pulled with a bucket on a coast-to-coast drive by Marcus Miles, the Hurricanes mounted a 13-6 run for a 65-56 advantage.

A monsterous dunk by Louis in the closing minute, followed later by a carbon copy dunk from Tanner and the homestands celebrated the hard-fought Hurricane victory.

Louis finished with 26 points, while Tanner and Andrus each contributed 17 points for North Central. Lamb chipped in 10 points in the win.

Thomas led Port Barre with 20 points, while Noel added 16 points and Mile chipped in 14 points for the Red Devils.

North Central will face Rayne 2 p.m. today a pre-playoff double header at Northwest.

The Raiders will take on Ville Platte at 3:30 p.m.

Originally published February 20, 2005