Spartans beat Thibodaux inside to open Tiger Classic

Peter Silas Pasqua
East Ascension’s Quinn Coco goes up and under Thibodaux’s Rashad Smith for a reverse layup in the second quarter to give the Spartans a 19-16 lead in their 75-33 opening game victory in Donaldsonville’s Tiger Classic Wednesday evening. Coco finished with 18 points for East Ascension.

DONALDSONVILLE - East Ascension outscored Thibodaux 22-10 in the second quarter and led by as many as 25 on way to a 75-53 victory over Thibodaux in their opening game of Donaldsonville Tiger Classic XII Wednesday evening at DHS’ gym.

“Early on we hurt ourselves with all those fouls and then we miss our first five free throws,” East Ascension head coach Kenny Almond said. “It is good that we overcame that. Then we miss our last five free throws. To score as many points as we did with that said is positive.

“We rebounded well tonight. They really didn’t have their size with them. That helped us. They are going to be a lot better when they get their football players but it was a good win for us. We are going to be slow starting. We have a lot of inexperienced players but I think we will be able to play a little defense.”

East Ascension advanced to face White Castle Thursday in the semifinals. The winner will play the victor of St. Amant, who had a bye, and H.L. Bourgeois, a 75-53 winner over Assumption Saturday in the tournament final at 5 p.m.

“We tried to play good defense and they are just a good basketball team,” Thibodaux head coach Tony Clark said. “They executed better and did what it takes. We didn’t make shots and they got most of their points right underneath the rim. You give a team those  kind of shots and they are going to beat you. We didn’t force them to shoot enough jumpers. We are missing a good bit of players right now. It makes a difference but I still expect the guys in there to play better than they did.”

Ferrell Strode led East Ascension with 24 points, while Quinn Coco, the Spartans lone returning starter, provided 18 and Keith Fleming had 16.

Thibodaux was led by Shavon Coleman with 22 points. Ross McMillien provided 13 and Westley Anderson added 11.

East Ascension jumped out to an early 6-2 lead courtesy of Strode before Coleman’s 3-pointer from the right wing. Strode’s dish out to Corey Lane for a baseline jumper and Fleming’s tip in made it 11-5. Coleman’s pull up jumper in the lane cut it to 13-12 after his drive and Coco’s putback. Anderson’s pull up at the buzzer from the free throw line made it 15-14 at the end of the first quarter after Kenny Varnado’s free throws.

Kerry Weber fed Fleming in transition to open the second quarter before Anderson sandwiched a jumper and floater around Coco’s up and under from the left baseline. East Ascension then used a 12-0 run courtesy of four free throws from Coco, two from Fleming and Coco’s reverse from Varnado and lay up off a steal. Tyler Wright fed Fleming inside in transition before Anderson’s dish to Jestin Major in the left corner. Coco’s dish to Fleming and Weber’s free throws closed out the half with East Ascension ahead 37-22.

Coco fed Strode inside to open the third quarter before Anderson’s dish to McMillen near the top of the key for a 3-pointer cut it to 42-25. Coleman’s floater in transition preceded a 10-0 run by East Ascension courtesy of Weber’s dish to Strode inside, Coco’s pass to Weber in transition, Varnado’s fast break dish to Fleming, Coco’s feed to Strode and Fleming’s putback. Anderson’s dish to McMillien for a 3-pointer in the right corner cut it to 57-35 after Williams fed Coleman in transition and Coco passed to Strode inside and one. Coleman’s lay up off a steal reflected the score going into the final stanza.

Fleming fed Strode inside to open the fourth quarter before Anderson passed to Williams for a 3-pointer in the left corner. Strode’s lay up off a steal and Coco’s pull up jumper preceded McMillen’s 3-pointer from the left wing. Coco’s dunk off a steal made it 67-43 after Strode’s put back. McMillen and Coleman’s drives cut it to 69-49 before Wright’s pass to Weber for a 3-pointer on the left wing. Coleman’s baseline jumper reflected the final tally after his dunk off a steal and Curtis Watts’ dish to Wright for a 3-pointer in the left corner.

East Ascension’s Keith Fleming goes up for a lay up in the second quarter of the Wednesday evening. Fleming finished with 16 points for East Ascension.