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Sunday, July 21, 2019

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Trojans appear headed for LHSAA State Playoffs

Trojans appear headed for LHSAA State Playoffs

In last Wednesday’s print edition of the Lafourche Gazette, it was reported that the Central Lafourche men’s basketball team needed two wins in the final week of the regular season in order to reach the LHSAA State Playoffs.

They did it. The Trojans beat Hahnville and Thibodaux and took care of business. As projected, Central Lafourche is now expected to compete in postseason play for the first time in several seasons.

While the bracket was not officially released at press time on Monday, power rankings projections have the Trojans in the 32-team field for the Class 5A playoffs. That’s quite a turnaround for a team that has struggled in recent seasons. But it’s a comeback that marks a feel-good story for the school’s community.

“This is an amazing feeling,” Trojans standout Josh Joseph said following the team’s win against Thibodaux on Friday night. “Looking back at where we were compared to where we are now, it’s just awesome to be able to have a chance to hopefully go to the playoffs and compete for a state championship. We’ve waited a long time for this.”

The truth of it all is that the playoffs really started for Central Lafourche this week, as the team knew a loss against either Hahnville or Thibodaux would eliminate the team from contention.

That pressure didn’t stop the Trojans last week on Monday night, as they walloped Hahnville 70-60 on the road – a game that earned Central Lafourche the season sweep over the River Parish foe.

That set the stage for last Friday night’s battle with Thibodaux – a game that will likely go down as the Game of the Year in the 2013-14 prep basketball season.

Playing before a wild environment at the Trojans’ gym, Thibodaux took control of the game early, taking a 31-22 lead at halftime and a 52-42 advantage into the fourth quarter.

That lead held until late in the fourth quarter when Central Lafourche was thrust with an ultimatum: make a run or go home.

The Trojans made a run to stay alive.

Sparked by a 16-0 surge to end the game, Central Lafourche overcame a late 63-60 deficit to push home a 76-63 win. Joseph was huge in the win, scoring 25 points. He sliced his hand open earlier in the game and had to change jerseys in the fourth quarter after getting blood on his original uniform.

The hand wasn’t a factor in his play, as he scored more than a dozen points in the fourth quarter when the Trojans needed him most.

“I didn’t feel it, man. I was just playing ball,” Joseph said when asked about his hand. “This was too big of a game to let anything distract me. I just had to go out there and keep pushing for my team.”

The Trojans are expected to be among the final few postseason teams, which means the team will be on the road for their first-round game.

But no matter Central’s opponent, Joseph said he wants it to be known that the team is not content with their current success.

“We want to win playoff games,” Joseph said. “Our goal isn’t to get there and lose. We want to keep pushing and make a run at winning the state championship. We feel like we have the tools in place to make a run, so that’s what we plan to do.”


Lady Tarpons fall in Round of 32

Central Lafourche’s boys hope to fare better in the postseason than South Lafourche girls did, who lost in the opening round of the playoffs this week against Walker.

The Lady Tarpons gave No. 3 Walker a fight throughout the game, which was closely contested throughout the early stages of the game.

But Walker took control of the game in the middle stages, which enabled them to secure a 52-36 victory. The No. 3 seed in the Class 5A bracket moved on to face another local team in the second round – No. 14 Thibodaux.

That game was played on Tuesday night and no score was available at press time.

The loss ends South Lafourche’s season with a 15-11 season. Lady Tarpons’ first-year coach Rainie Stevens said throughout the season that she was honored and proud to be surrounded by the team, which she described as a “high character bunch of kids that possessed great leadership, both on and off the floor.”