COLUMBIA – Time ran out on the Crowley Gents Tuesday.
Trailing No. 6 Caldwell Parish by one, 60-59, with 18 seconds left, the Gents appeared primed to pull off a stunning upset on the road.
Coach Derrick Boone drew up the play and the Gents put the ball in motion.
Unfortunately, they never got off a shot.
Instead, Andre Mills got trapped in the corner and a Caldwell defender deflected a pass in the lane and picked up the ball with two seconds left, denying the Gents a last-second shot and closing the book on the CHS’ 2012-13 basketball season.
“We had a play drawn up, but we just didn’t get into it quick enough,” said Boone, whose team finished the season with a record of 14-15. “We had it drawn up and it was there, but we just waited too long to run the play.”
The final miscue was just one of many that plagued the Gents in the fourth quarter.
After trailing by 10 (37-27) at the half, the Gents rallied in the third quarter and took a 49-48 lead heading into the final frame.
They then went on an 8-3 run in the first four minutes of the fourth quarter to stake a 57-51 advantage and all was well.
What followed, though, was disastrous.
The Gents had a turnover on an inbounds play, missed a layup in transition and picked up a steal only to turn the ball right back over seconds later.
The result was a 6-0 run by Caldwell to knot the game at 57-57 with 3:13 remaining.
“We had a few mistakes and we lost our composure a little bit there in the fourth quarter and that kind of determined the game,” said Boone. “We had control of the game by six points and then we had back-to-back turnovers and that hurt us.”
The Gents, who missed three layups and turned the ball over five times in the fourth quarter, scored just two points in the final four minutes, those coming off a Marcus Williams jumper in the lane to put the Gents up 59-57.
“The layups really killed us,” said Boone, alluding to the six his team missed on the night. “We had chances to extend our lead there in the fourth quarter and we just missed some critical layups. Just being under the basket and not converting, that was the big factor.”
The Gents started the game on a 6-0 run but Caldwell answered right back with 11 unanswered points.
Caldwell’s Tremont Wooten took over in the second quarter and scored 11 of his team-high 16 points on driving layups in transition. Darius Gallow added seven points in the frame to push the Spartans’ lead to 37-27.
The Gents responded with a 20-9 run in the first six minutes of the third quarter to take their first lead (47-46) since early in the first quarter. Damon Malbrough and Andre Mills each pitched in eight points during the rally.
“There was just a lack of aggression on our part in the first half,” said Boone. “We forced nine turnovers, but five of them were in the first two minutes. After that, we stopped being aggressive and that was the tale of the first half.
“We came out in the third quarter and we got in their face and that’s what enabled us to make that run.”
The fourth quarter was a different story. Caldwell outscored the Gents 12-10.
“(In) the fourth quarter, it was composure and execution and we didn’t get either,” said Boone. “In a game like this, you have to make every point, make every layup and shoot free throws well; we didn’t do that.”
Free throw wise, the Gents hit two of only six attempts.
That was a far cry from Caldwell’s 13-for-17 performance from the stripe. Overall, the Gents were charged with 25 fouls while the hosts were whistled for just three fouls in each half.
“We didn’t have a whole lot go our way, but there were still some things that we should have done to not let the officials get into the game,” said Boone of the lopsided foul margin. “It was totally on us as far as execution and keeping our composure.”
Offensively, Damon Malbrough led the Gents with 20 points. Marcus Williams followed with 13 points and Andre Mills had 10. Jesse Harmon added seven points, Charles Onezine scored three and Bryston Domino, Danny Malbrough and John Davis each finished with two.
Ben Vanderslice and Darius Gallow scored 11 and 10 points, respectively, for Caldwell.