Griffins surprise defending champ East Ascension in district opener

Peter Silas Pasqua
Dutchtown’s Scott Burgess drives past East Ascension’s Keith Fleming in the fourth quarter of the Griffins’ 65-58 district opening victory Tuesday night.

GEISMAR - Dutchtown fell behind 4-0 early but scored the next seven points and never trailed again on way to a 65-58 victory over defending champion and No. 3 ranked East Ascension in the teams’ District 6-5A opener at DTHS’ gym Tuesday night.

“We still have to play nine more games,” Dutchtown head coach Patrick Hill said. “The way things are designed today, 1-0 in district is just 1-0 in district but from the power ratings standpoint, this is a big boost.

“You work hard in practice and you hope that winning is the by product. This may have been  the first game with the exception of two where we led the entire game and were never at a deficit.”

The loss snapped East Ascension’s 11-game winning streak dating back to a December against Thibodaux. The contest concluded with three Spartans on the bench after fouling out.

“We haven’t been in foul trouble all year and we were in foul trouble tonight,” East Ascension head coach Kenny Almond said. “Isn’t that amazing. We got a guy down there get his shirt pulled out of his pants on a jump shot right in front of an official. We make a mistake and one of our kids said something about not calling a foul and we get a technical but they don’t keep their coach off the floor the whole game. They put the wrong shooter at the line. That is not against the rules anymore. They pick and chose the rules they wanted to enforce. That is the way it was officiated.”

“I think Dutchtown played great. They have a tremendous coach, great fan support and the administration supports their team.”

Earl Warren had a game-high 24 points for Dutchtown (13-8, 1-0). Terrance Cushenberry added 16 and Scott Burgess provided 11.

East Ascension (23-3, 0-1) was led by Corey Lane with 17 points. Keith Fleming added 13, while Ferrell Strode contributed 11, but both fouled out.

East Ascension scored nine straight points to cut it to 46-43 on Lane’s 3-pointer from the left wing to open the fourth quarter but Dutchtown made of 13 of 20 free throws in the final frame to escape with the victory.

“Anytime you play a team like East Ascension, you know they are going to play to the end,” Hill said. “They don’t have that record for no reason. You just hope you are able to withstand it and tonight we were.”

Another Lane 3-pointer cut it to 49-48 but that is as close as the Spartans would get as Burgess pulled up before a technical was whistled with just under five minutes to play. Warren would score five of the next seven points from the charity stripe drawing Kenny Varnado’s fifth personal.

Another free throw from Warren put Dutchtown ahead 60-50 with 1:08 left to play after Eddie Lacy fed Cushenberry inside off a near back court violation.

Strode’s putback cut it to 61-54 with 44. 7 seconds remaining but Gary Weber missed a shot attempt off a steal and Dutchtown took advantage of free throws.

East Ascension went ahead early on Strode’s put back and Quinn Coco’s free throws but Warren fed Cushenberry for a 3-pointer from the right wing to give Dutchtown the lead after Jordan Biagas’ baseline jumper. Lane’s and one knotted it up 7-7 before Warren’s spin put the Griffins ahead for good.

Warren’s transition bucket put Dutchtown on top 17-10 after Lane and Cushenberry traded 3-pointers but Fleming’s inside bucket cut it to 17-13 going into the second quarter.

Consecutive 3-pointers from Cushenberry and Warren put Dutchtown ahead 25-15 after Weber fed Fleming inside. Varnado’s pull up jumper and Weber’s lay up off a steal preceded Burgess’ drive before Lyle Mock hit three of four free throws to give Dutchtown a 33-24 half-time lead.

East Ascension’s Keith Fleming goes up for a reverse in between Dutchtown’s Eddie Lacy and Earl Warren in the second quarter of the Griffins 65-48 victory Tuesday night.