But when they needed them the most, the Gents knocked them down.
The Gents connected on eight of nine free throw attempts in the fourth quarter to break open a tight game and slip away with a 69-59 road victory over Jennings.
“Lately we have been shooting free throws pretty well, but tonight we kind of struggled,” said CHS coach Derrick Boone, whose team was 8-for-20 from the charity stripe entering the fourth quarter. “But we settled down and those free throws in the fourth quarter helped us put the game away.”
The free throws were much needed after Jennings overcame an early 16-point deficit and battled back to cut the lead to 59-55 late in the fourth quarter.
“You know, in basketball, every team is going to make a run,” said Boone. “We just have to limit those runs.
“We gave up a big lead and I think that was because we’re not as deep as we were in the past and our kids were getting a little fatigued.”
Early on, there were no signs of fatigue.
The Gents jumped out to a commanding 24-8 first-quarter lead behind nine points, all from beyond the arch, from Dorris Senegal.
“The good thing is that we are getting off to good starts,” said Boone. “And that is what we need to do, especially when we’re on the road. You have to come out aggressive and take control of the game early and get the crowd out of it.”
Jennings didn’t roll over after their subpar first quarter performance.
Instead, freshman guard Draylan Perkins and forward D’Cory Savoy combined for 15 points as the Bulldogs outscored the Gents 22-13 in the second quarter and cut the CHS lead to 37-32.
The Gents regrouped during the intermission and outscored Jennings 14-6 to push its cushion to 51-38 heading into the final stanza and then hung on for the victory.
Damon Malbrough and Andre Mills led the Gents with 19 and 18 points, respectively. Malbrough also had nine rebounds and four assists.
Senegal followed with 17 points and seven rebounds and Danny Malbrough had 12 points and four steals. Dylan Montgomery finished with three points and 13 rebounds.
Perkins paced Jennings with 22 points and Savoy had 16.
CHS Ladies 46
Jennings’ Jayln Johnson came on strong when her team needed her the most, scoring 13 points in the final quarter to lead the Lady Bulldogs to their first District 4-3A victory Tuesday evening.
Johnson also poured in 10 points in the second quarter and finished the night with a game-high 28 points.
Jennings improved to 9-12 overall and 1-2 in league play. Crowley fell to 11-8 and 1-2.
“We knew the point guard (Johnson) would get hers, but we just didn’t do a good job of rotating our defense,” said CHS coach Alton Allen after the loss. “She would penetrate and no one would step over to help and there were a lot of times that she would have a clear path to the basket.”
Crowley had its chances and led by as many as four in the third quarter and early in the fourth.
However, each time they took the lead, the Ladies either committed turnovers or rushed shots that came up short.
“We had some good spurts in the game, but other times, we just didn’t execute,” said Allen. “Our lack of execution has hurt us. It hurt us tonight and it has hurt us all season.”
Boone said the cause is a lack of patience on his team’s part.
“When we took the lead, if we would have run our offense, we would have gotten a lot easier shots than we were taking,” he said.
Instead of attacking Jennings with the inside game of senior center Mercedes Rogers, the Ladies continued to pump out mid-range jumpers and the Lady Dogs turned misses into points in transition.
Rogers still managed to keep the Ladies within striking distance in the fourth quarter by scoring 11 of her team-high 18 points. She also had 18 rebounds and five steals.
She scored Crowley ’s first four points of the final frame to give the Ladies a 35-31 lead.
But Johnson took over after that, scoring 13 straight points to give the Lady Dogs a 44-39 advantage with 1:36 left.
From there, Rogers went on a streak and scored six straight points to cut the Ladies deficit to two (48-46) with eight seconds remaining, but Jennings knocked down two free throws following an intentional foul to seal the victory.
Isis Broussard scored 16 points in the loss while Akeela Dugar added eight and Sara Woodard had five.