But the ride home was less enthusiastic after the Giants nabbed a 74-70 victory from the Wolves.
“No matter the outcome, I’m proud of our guys,” said Rayne coach Louis Handy of the regional loss. “Overall, these kids fought well and hard, and went out there where they put their soul and heart into the game. They left it all on the court.”
A somewhat fixture in post-season play, Handy is not one to make observations of a calling crew, but he questions Tuesday’s contest.
“I don’t consider myself an official jumper, but it was one of those nights, one you just can’t put your finger on,” continued Handy. “We walked into the gym with a positive attitude. But after observing the surroundings, we knew the game was going to be an uphill battle.”
Green Oaks jumped out to a 13-12 lead in the first quarter before taking a 29-24 advantage at the half.
Both teams blasted out of the locker room, the Giants scoring 27 points in the third quarter compared to Rayne’s 22.
Down as much as 13 points, the Wolves got back into the game, coming within a single point. But Green Oaks pulled out a 28-point final quarter for the 74-70 win.
“Our guys played hard, battled back and I’m really proud of them,” said Handy. “This year’s team might not have had the fire power as past teams, but they had the willpower.
“This is a good group of kids. It’s just a shame it had to end like this, and not just on the scoreboard.”
Leading the Wolves Tuesday were Ryan Larry and Darius Bonnom with 21 and 20 points, respectively.
Rounding out the Rayne scoring were Michael Henry with 11; Hunter Prejean 6; Dannie Harmon 5; Freddie Broussard 4 and Ian Papillion 2.
Northside Christian (22-8) also came up short in their Class C regional contest, falling to Claiborne Christian, 49-41.
Claiborne jumped out to a 24-20 advantage at the half before outscoring the Warriors 25-21 in the final 16 minutes.
Northside fell behind by 10 (40-30) in the fourth quarter before cutting the lead to 43-39 with two minutes remaining.
The Warriors were led by Pierce Rivera and Ben Rogers with 14 and 13 points, respectively. Rivera also had 12 rebounds while Rogers had four rebounds.
Josh Wheeler added seven points, 11 boards and three assists; BJ Starks had five points and Grant Williams scored two points.