MIDLAND – Midland’s Rebels were reminded of an old adage Friday: It’s not how you start, it’s how you finish.
In the Rebels’ case, what started out as a potential blowout in the first half turned into a nailbiter in the second.
Fortunately for the host Rebels, who squandered an 18-point lead and survived an 11-for-24 shooting performance from the free throw line, they were able to hold on for a 66-61 victory over the Jennings Bulldogs.
“We played hard the whole game,” said Midland coach Todd Briley following the victory. “We fought the whole way, we just have to be better composed through the whole game.
“But it was a good game for us. We needed one like that. I was glad we were able to hang on, but we didn’t finish the game good.”
Briley’s squad was on fire in the first half when they scored 19 points in each of the first two frames to take a 38-22 advantage.
Jake Gautreaux drilled four 3-pointers in the first two quarters and the Rebels were able to convert turnovers into points with their pressure defense.
“We really bothered them in the first half with our pressure,” said Briley, whose Rebels led 32-14 with three minutes remaining in the half. “We missed some shots, but we were getting some tips and deflections and we were getting the loose balls and layups. A lot of it was hustle plays.”
The second half was a different story.
Foul trouble, especially at the guard position, forced Briley to scale back the press in the third quarter and Jennings took advantage by outscoring the Rebels 16-11.
“We got in foul trouble and we weren’t guarding well,” said Briley of the third quarter. “We just kind of fell back in the half court and their penetration was killing us.”
It got worse in the final frame.
Jennings’ Draylan Perkins took over, driving the lane for 12 of his team-high 21 points as the Dogs went on a 9-2 run in the first two minutes of the fourth quarter to cut the lead to four (51-47).
That run was aided by four of Midland’s season-high 18 turnovers.
“Perkins really took it to us,” said Briley. “And they really got after us (defensively) like we try to get after people.”
The Dogs inched closer later in the quarter when Perkins’ layup with 1:36 remaining cut the lead to 58-57.
Midland answered, however.
Gautreaux drove in for two layups and Alan Vondenstein powered his way in for a bucket to give the Rebels a 64-57 cushion. After a pair of baskets from Perkins, Vondenstein sealed the victory with a pair of freebies of his own.
Midland had it’s chances to extend the lead earlier in the final frame, but the Rebels connected on just five of their 14 free throw attempts in the final eight minutes.
“A lot of the free throws we missed were front ends (of a one-and-one) so no telling how many points we left at the line,” said Briley. “That’s 13 points, but it might have been 20 points we left at the line with all the one-and-ones.
“But I’m happy with the win. We lacked some composure, but we were still tough enough to fight through it and we didn’t quit. I’ve seen us in a couple of games earlier in the year where when it didn’t go our way, we just threw in the towel. We fought hard and that was a good sign.”
Gautreaux and Vondenstein led the Rebels with 25 and 22 points, respectively. Devin Gautreaux followed with 10 points, Darren Arceneaux added six, Stephen Primeaux had two and Randy Primeaux finished with one.
Draylan Perkins paced the Dogs with 21 points. Chris Perkins had 14 and John Charles had 13.
Lady Rebels top Bolton
The Midland Lady Rebels got hot from beyond the arch early and often and cruised to a 56-36 victory over Bolton Friday afternoon in the Midland Holiday Spectacular.
Katie Woods buried three of her five 3-pointers in the first quarter to help Midland build a 25-6 lead.
Tori Craigen added a pair of 3-pointers in the second frame and then Woods hit two more long balls in the third to push the advantage to 46-23.
With the reserves on the court, Bolton was able to outscore the Lady Rebels 13-10 in the final frame.
Craigen, who recently returned from an ankle injury, led the Lady Rebels with 17 points while Woods had 15. Kristen Breaux followed with seven points, Melody Hebert added five, Bethany LeJeune had four, Elizabeth Istre scored four, Nicole Kraut and Macy Hoffpauir each had two and Katelyn LeBlanc had one.
Sulphur outlasts Iota
The Iota Lady Bulldogs gave Class 5A power Sulphur a run, but couldn’t quite get over the hump in a 46-40 loss to the Lady Tors Friday evening.
The Lady Dogs trailed 21-17 at the half, but they rallied to take the lead twice in the third quarter before going into the final frame down 40-35.
Sulphur outscored Iota 6-5 in the fourth quarter.
Iota connected on 10 3-pointers on the night. Brittany Johnson drained four shots from beyond the arch while Mallory Faul hit three, Jillian Boone had two and Paige Soriez had one.
Johnson led the Lady Dogs with 12 points, Faul had 11 and Boone added 10. Soirez finished with three points while Cambri St. Andre and Madison Smith each had two.
Crowley slides past
PRAIRIE RHONDE – The Crowley Gents bolted out to a big lead in the first half and were able to withstand a late rally with their reserves on the court to take a 54-46 victory over Hamilton Christian in a loser’s bracket contest at the Northwest Tournament Friday afternoon.
The Gents jumped out to a 44-26 lead after three quarters land held on from there.
“We put a little pressure on them (Hamilton) in the first half and created a lot of turnovers,” said CHS coach Derrick Boone, whose squad took on district foe Iowa yesterday in the consolation finals. “We capitalized on their mistakes and we were able to control the tempo of the game. That allowed me to put in a lot of my backups just to get those guys some playing time.
“Hamilton was able to cut into the lead in the fourth quarter but the game was never really in jeopardy.”
Damon Malbrough and Jesse Harmon paced the Gents with 20 and 14 points, respectively. Danny Malbrough added eight points, Andre Mills scored six and Charles Onezine, John Davis and Jeremy Thomas each had two.
On Thursday, the Gents dropped a 73-57 decision to North Central in the tournament opener.
Danny Malbrough scored 17 points in the loss while Damon Malbrough had 15 and Mills had 10. Tiron Foreman added six points and Harmon had five. Davis and Leroy Washington rounded out the scoring with two points each.