MIDLAND – The main ingredient in the Midland Rebels’ success over the years has been their pressure defense.
And when the Rebels are clicking offensively, they’re virtually unbeatable.
Just ask the Eunice Bobcats, who unfortunately witnessed that first-hand Wednesday in first round action of the Midland Holiday Spectacular.
Midland (13-6) welcomed the Bobcats in their first appearance in the tournament in recent history by forcing numerous turnovers and connecting on 12 3-pointers in a dominating 67-39 victory.
“We came out ready to play tonight,” said Midland coach Todd Briley. “We started out with some intensity and those guys had a hard time with that.
“That’s the key. When we’ve had good games this year, we get after people (defensively). And we shot the ball pretty well tonight.”
The Rebels forced the Bobcats into countless mistakes early in the game with their full-court pressure and limited Eunice to just 13 first-half points.
Offensively, the Rebels were just as impressive.
If they weren’t scoring in transition, they were kicking it out to the wings and draining three pointers.
Jake Gautreaux and Devin Gautreaux each drilled three long balls in the first half to help push the Rebels out to a commanding 38-13 lead at the break.
The Gautreaux duo combined for 11 3-pointers on the night. Jake hit five and finished with a game-high 23 points while Devin had six treys and 20 points.
“Jake and Devin, those guys can shoot the ball and they both shot it well tonight,” said Briley. “Jake has had some good games (from beyond the arch) and Devin has had some good ones, but it’s not that often that they have them on the same night.”
The second half was a different story for the Rebels.
The Bobcats made some adjustments at the half and limited Midland to just 10 points in the third quarter.
“The third quarter was terrible,” said Briley. “We kind of lost our intensity and then they (Eunice) came with that high trapping zone and we didn’t do a good job with that. We didn’t attack it well and that bothered us.”
The Rebels picked it back up in the final frame and outscored Eunice 19-15 behind 12 points from Jake Gautreaux, including two 3-pointers.
Alan Vondenstein also hit double figures on the night with 10 points while Darren Arceneaux had nine. Randy Primeaux added three points and Stephen Primeaux scored two.
Eunice was led by Ben Allison with 16 points.
Lady Rebels slip
The Midland Lady Rebels fended off a late rally and hit four free throws with under a minute to go to slip past Iota, 53-50, Wednesday evening in the Midland Holiday Spectacular.
The Lady Rebels, who had beaten Iota, 42-24, just over two weeks ago, improved to 9-12 on the season with the victory. Iota fell to 5-11.
“Both teams played extremely hard tonight,” said Midland coach Joanna Tate. “We knew coming into this game that Iota was coming to play. They always do and they always have. We knew they were coming for us, but we came out with a lot of intensity and played with a lot of energy the entire game.”
Iota trailed by six in the first quarter and fell behind by as many as 12 in the second half before rallying late in the contest.
Kristen Breaux got Midland off and running in the first quarter with eight points. She added six more in the second frame to help the Lady Rebels take a 31-25 advantage into the half.
Breaux led all scorers on the night with 23 points.
“We played hard tonight,” said Iota coach Meghann LeJeune. “But like I told the girls, in a game like this, if you allow one player to score 23 points and we don’t have at least four players scoring 10, you lose those games.”
Iota rallied in the fourth quarter behind five straight points from Brittany Johnson, including a 3-pointer, to cut the lead to 47-45 with just under five minutes to play.
Johnson added another 3-pointer with just over three minutes remaining to get the Lady Dogs within one (49-48) but that was as close as Iota would get.
Midland’s Katie Woods connected on three free throws down the stretch to seal the victory.
“Whenever Iota made a couple of runs, our girls didn’t get discouraged and they kept going so I was proud of that,” said Tate. “We kept our composure for the most part. We did make a few mistakes but they listened to us and they executed.”
Woods followed Breaux with 15 points and Bethany LeJeune scored nine. Melody Hebert added four points and Elizabeth Istre had two.
Johnson paced Iota with 12 points. She was followed by Jillian Boone and Mallory Faul with 11 and 10 points, respectively.
Also scoring for Iota were Piage Soirez with six points, Cambri St. Andre with five, Madison Smith with four and Alexis St. Andre with two.
Notre Dame tops
The Notre Dame Pioneers pulled off their second victory of the season Wednesday with a 49-36 victory over David Thibodeaux in the opening round of the Midland Holiday Spectacular Tournament.
“This was a much needed win for the kids to build up their confidence,” said Notre Dame coach Donald Adams, whose team broke a nine-game losing streak with the victory. “We put together four good quarters and that was the key.”
Notre Dame (2-12) was in command for most of the contest and led by 15 (33-18) late in the third quarter.
That lead was cut to four (35-31) with just over five minutes to play in the fourth before Hunter Meche caught fire. The freshman scored eight of his 12 points in the final five minutes to help seal the victory.
“Hunter is a freshman, but he’s not afraid to attack the basket,” said Adams of Meche, who also had eight rebounds. “If we put it in his hands at any given time, he is going to the bucket. He plays with energy, aggression and intensity and that’s what we need.”
Tre Milstead led the Pios with 13 points and Jacob Leleux had nine.
Tyler Simar added five points and Alex Thomas had four. Christian Landry and Joe Stringfellow rounded out the Pios’ scoring with three points each.