Tigers drop district opener against E.D. White

Kyle Riviere
Gonzales Weekly Citizen
Rayien Oatis plays defense during the Tigers' loss against E.D. White. Oatis led the team with 18 points.

If you only watched the first few minutes of Donaldsonville's Tuesday night district opener against E.D. White, you'd think the Tigers ran the Cardinals out of the gym and secured their fifth straight victory.

Donaldsonville blazed out to a 9-0 lead. Unfortunately for the Tigers, E.D. White surged back to take the lead at the start of the second quarter. From there, the Cardinals controlled the game and eventually pulled out a 69-58 victory.

"We stopped doing what worked," Tiger head coach Lionel Gilbert said. "We came out and played with our tempo. Then we started to let them dictate the tempo of the game. We wanted to speed them up, but they did a good job of holding their ground and not allowing us to do that. We have to get better defensively with our rotating. Defensive rotation on the backside just wasn't there tonight. We just have to get back in the gym and get back to work. "

It looked like Donaldsonville was going to blow E.D. White out of the water early. A jumper by Rayien Oatis gave them a 9-0 lead right out of the gates. He later hit a 3-pointer that gave them a 14-7 advantage.

However, at the end of the quarter, the Cardinals began chipping away at the deficit. They cut it to 16-12 at the end of the period.

E.D. White then began the second quarter with a 5-0 run to grab its first lead of the game at 17-16.

Donaldsonville countered. A 3-pointer by Jakai Allen completed a 6-0 spurt for the Tigers that put them ahead, 22-17. But the Cardinals responded with an 8-1 rally of their own to regain the lead.

At the half, E.D. White held a 29-26 advantage.

The Cardinals took control in the third. 

They stretched the lead to eight. And even after the Tigers scored six straight points to get within two, E.D. White responded with a strong surge that gave the Cardinals their biggest lead of the game at 11.

The Cardinals led, 48-38, heading into the final period.

The advantage jumped up to 12 points until a driving layup by Lawerence Forcell got the Tigers within five. But after a questionable charging call on Donaldsonville, Gilbert was hit with a technical foul.

E.D. White was able to push the lead back to 10.

Donaldsonville's last gasp came late in the game when Allen hit back-to-back 3-pointers that cut the lead down to four, but that's as close as the Tigers would get. The Cardinals were able to cruise down the stretch.

In a losing effort, Rayien Oatis scored 18 for the Tigers, and Randell Oatis scored 12. Allen added 10, and Forcell chipped in with seven.

The loss ended a four-game winning streak for Donaldsonville. The Tigers have had a trying start to the season. They've had four games postponed due to COVID-19, and they've only been able to play seven total contests.

"We haven't been able to practice. Every other week, we're losing a player to quarantine," Gilbert said. "We just need more gym time. We have a pretty young group with just one senior. We're playing a lot of freshmen, sophomores and juniors. Our future is bright. 

"I'm just happy that we were able to play today, so we're not going to be too bitter about it. We just have to work and get better. I saw some bright spots. I think we know what we have to do to be successful. We just have to be able to sustain that for 32 minutes. The more we play, the better we'll get."