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Story Archives: Ouachita wins first state championship
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|Ouachita wins first state championship|
The Ouachita Lions felt all season long that this was a team of destiny. Four seniors — Nick Haywood, Mike Shaw, Jeremie Mitchell and Henry Sidney — had all seen the last two trophies slip away.
That was not to be in 2009 as the Ouachita Lions beat the Hahnville Tigers 70-53 to claim the first boys basketball state championship in school history Saturday night in Lafayette.
"They're the first ones in history," Ouachita coach Casey Jones said. "I've stressed that to the guys. They will have that forever. Every time they come into that gym, their picture and banner will be hanging there."
Hahnville grabbed the lead early on but could only take advantage for 22 seconds as Ouachita (38-4) dominated from there on out.
Even if local fans did not realize it at the time, Ouachita was up against great competition on a night that they would simply not be denied.
Hahnville, a No.12-seed, had gotten to the title game by beating top-seed Huntington of Shreveport two days earlier.
Hahnville (30-8) was the first 30-win squad and first team to reach the state championship round in Hahnville High School history.
The passion was readily available from both fan bases. Emotions were high. Ouachita just seemed to want this one a bit more in the end.
The game was tied going into the final frame. Hahnville made a big run to close out the third stanza and make the game 42-42 after three quarters of play.
"I told them the first two or three minutes (of the fourth quarter) are the most important," Jones said. "The team that won the first three minutes in the fourth quarter was going to win the game. Let's go to another level on defense. I understand we're tired, but we can be tired some other time. This is the state championship game."
Ouachita turned up the defensive pressure and forced Hahnville into some uncharacteristic turnovers that forced the Tigers off of their game plan.
"I definitely think ball pressure led to some turnovers," Hahnville head coach Brian Lumar said. "We usually try to limit those, but Ouachita's pressure had to do with a lot of that."
By the end of the night, Ouachita had outscored Hahnville 28-11 in the final frame, a stark contrast to a third quarter owned by the Tigers.
Ouachita also stepped up to the free-throw line and made some big shots. An Achilles heel all year for the Lions, Ouachita converted on all but two free throws in the final period.
The season is a record for wins as well as the first championship for Ouachita. Coach Jones can now add a state crown to his 10 consecutive district titles at Ouachita.
"This one feels real good," Jones said. "We felt like we let one slip away last year. We came out with real good defensive intensity. I think that was the difference in the game."