UGLY EPIC: Griffins sludge past Spartans in Tiger Classic semifinal game

Peter Silas Pasqua
Dutchtown’s Donovan McCall drives lane in between East Ascension’s John Paul Williams, Donald LeBlanc and Bobby Madere to knot it up 16-16 in the second quarter of the Griffins’ 42-40 semifinal victory of the Tiger Classic XIII Thursday night.

DONALDSONVILLE – Scott Burgess nailed a 3-pointer from the left corner to give Dutchtown the lead in the closing minutes and the Griffins held off East Ascension 42-40 in the semifinals of the Tiger?Classic XIII at Donaldsonville’s High’s gym Thursday night.

Dutchtown advanced to the championship against host Donaldsonville Saturday night where they fell 49-43. East Ascension lost to Thibodaux 83-51 in the third place game Saturday afternoon.

“We got in foul trouble but considering this was only our first game of the year and EA’s only third game, it was a epic battle,”?Dutchtown head coach Patrick Hill said. “EA didn’t lose. They just didn’t win. When Kenny Almond is coaching, it is going to be a good game. His kids are going to fight to the end and fight with strategy.

“(Burgess) is an emotional leader and he will not give up. He has been doing it for three years. He has to be more consistent than tonight but I am not going to stop him from shooting.”

Terrence Cushenberry finished with 16 points to lead the Griffins, while Burgess added 14 and Jordon Biagas had eight.

Keith Fleming led East Ascension with 12 points, while Tyler Wright added 11, and Curtis Watts provided nine.

“I didn’t think it was so ugly,” East Ascension head coach Kenny Almond said. “I just didn’t like the end of it. We didn’t have as many points as they did.

“I thought we got hurt when their guy commits a foul and stays in the game and our guy commits a foul and has to sit. It hurts you when they report the wrong guy for the foul but we had chances to win and didn’t do it. It wasn’t pretty.”

Fleming’s free throws opened the contest before Cushenberry nailed a 3-pointer from the left wing and Burgess spun off a steal and fed Biagas near the top of the key to put Dutchtown ahead 7-2.

Fleming’s inside buckets, the first from Donald LeBlanc and the second off a spin, preceded Biagas’ putback before Wright hit the first and third of three free throw attempts to make it 9-8 going into the second quarter.

Burgess’ putback opened the second frame before LeBlanc hit Watts for a 3-pointer in the right corner and Watts converted the first and third free throw attempts after officials ruled Donovan McCall fouled him on a 3-point attempt instead of Burgess, which Almond argued.

Watts’ 3-pointer put EA?ahead 16-12 but Dutchtown knotted it up on McCall’s lane drive after Biagas drove baseline in transition and took a 21-16 halftime lead following McCall’s dish to Burgess for a 3-pointer on the left wing.

Consecutive baseline jumpers from Wright knotted it up 22-22 in the second half before Burgess’ dish out to Cushenberry for a 3-pointer in the left corner. Shortly after, Burgess was forced to the bench with his fourth foul and did not return till the closing minutes.

Fleming’s putback put East Ascension ahead 26-24 after his cross court pass to Wright off a steal. Biagas' dish to McCall off a steal preceded Watt’s pull up jumper and Cushenberry’s set up as the lead exchanged hands seven straight times.

Wright’s 3-pointer from the left wing put East Ascension ahead 34-32 going into the final frame after Cushenberry answered Bobby Madere’s high arching 3-pointer with another.

McCall’s putback opened the fourth quarter before Madere’s baseline jumper and Fleming’s spin inside.

Burgess’ free throws preceded his 3-pointer that put Dutchtown ahead. Cushenberry’s baseline drive followed before LeBlanc fed Fleming inside to cut it to 41-40.

Biagas nailed the first free throw that fouled Fleming out with 16 seconds remaining and the ball knocked off  LeBlanc’s foot in the closing seconds.

Burgess had 16 and Cushenberry added 14 against Donaldsonville, while Wright provided 20 against Thibodaux.

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East Ascension's Donald LeBlanc is defended by Dutchtown's Terrence Cushenberry in the first half of the Griffins' 42-40 victory Thursday night.