Hot-shooting Griffins spoil Gators' senior night

Kyle Riviere
Dutchtown's Josh Crockett burnt St. Amant with seven 3-pointers. Photos by DKMoon Photography.

It may have been senior night for the St. Amant Gators, but it was the Dutchtown upperclassmen that had the biggest impact.

The Griffins put an end to a six-game losing streak and sent their seniors out in style as they went to the Gold Dome and piled up nine 3-pointers to spoil St. Amant's special night, 63-59.

Josh Crockett led the charge for Dutchtown as he went white-hot from the perimeter--hitting seven of the Griffins' nine treys. Conversely, St. Amant couldn't buy a 3-pointer. They could only hit four .

"I thought we only took one bad three. They weren't really bad shots; they just weren't falling," St. Amant head coach Travis Uzee said. "You don't expect that on a senior night, to miss everything you shoot but credit to Dutchtown. Josh (Crockett) had a great game, and we just couldn't get over the top at the end."

Heading into the regular-season finale, the Gators were just outside of the playoff mix looking in. After East Ascension's loss to Catholic the night before, their hopes of sharing a district title were squashed.

Their only chance to make the playoffs was to beat Dutchtown and hope teams ahead of them in the power rankings lost. With the upset-defeat to the Griffins, their great turnaround season came to an early end.

Although, early on, the Gators were looking good. Courtney Julien got off to a hot start as he scored nine of St. Amant's first 11 points, but two first-quarter 3-pointers by Crockett helped Dutchtown hang around.

With St. Amant up 11-8 heading into the second quarter, the pace picked up. Crockett made a lay-in after a Griffin steal, and it gave Dutchtown their first lead of the game. They took a 22-19 advantage into the half.

To start the third, St. Amant went on a quick 5-0 run that was fueled by a Carter Templet trey, but Crockett put Dutchtown right back up by three with a 3-pointer of his own.

He hit another to give the Griffins their biggest lead of the game at six.

The Gators surged back to tie the contest but once again, Crockett had an answer. He drilled yet another trey to put Dutchtown back up three. They led 39-38 heading into the fourth.

The 3-pointers continued from the Griffins but this time, they came from Cameron Burke and Ross Hill. The two shots gave Dutchtown a five-point advantage.

Crockett then struck one final time. With his seventh 3-pointer of the game, Dutchtown took their biggest lead at seven.

St. Amant never went away. They fought hard to come back, but Hill continued to hit clutch free throws for the Griffins. His free-throw precision allowed Dutchtown to close out the 63-59 victory.

Crockett finished the game with a team-high 23. Hill added 15, and Burke chipped in with 11.

As for St. Amant, Julien went off with a game-high 33, but the Gators didn't get much offense from the rest of the lineup. Crandell Christoff had 12; Griffin was the next highest scorer with seven.

"Right now it hurts but when we look back on it in a couple of weeks, we'll see all the things we accomplished. We almost flipped our record from last year--which was one of our goals coming into the season," Uzee said. "We beat Catholic High here, we beat McKinley here, and those two wins were signature wins. We got to the finals of our tournament for the first time in a very long time."

As for Dutchtown, it was a long season. Being forced to replace all five starters from a team that made the state quarterfinals a year ago, they struggled mightily in spots.

But with last Friday night's performance, they were able to send seniors Crockett, Hill, Burke, Christian Chustz and Preston Gaines out with a memorable victory.

Unfortunately for St. Amant, the loss prevented them from making the playoffs despite a solid 19-12 record.

Uzee couldn't be happier that he was able to coach Julien, Griffin, Christoff and Durell Smylie during their senior seasons.

"We have a great group of seniors; they're just a great group of kids. This whole group is just a special one to coach, and that has been the joy all season long," Uzee said. "Win or lose, my favorite part was practice. We'd get here with this group of guys, and they were just fun to be around."