The Thibodaux Tigers routinely turned defense into instant offense against St. James to close out the first day of the Thibodaux Thanksgiving Classic sponsored by the Sports Medicine Center of Thibodaux Regional on Monday.
The Tigers pressure defense ignited 20 straight first quarter points that they maintained for a 69-49 victory over the Wildcats.
Kobi Johnson sparked Thibodaux with 16 points to go with nine steals and four assists, along with Kyren Lacy (10 points, three steals, two blocks) and Corey Johnson and Tyren Young with eight points each.
Jarvis Moll led the Wildcats with 16 points, followed by Keithon Burham (13 points) and Chase Geason (10 points).
“It’s good to get the first win of the season,” Thibodaux coach head coach Tony Clark said. “The energy was high. That’s what you expect early in the season, especially when you’re playing at home.”
“My kids played well. We just need more continuity,” St. James head coach James Smith said. “In the second half we knew how to play. We just made too many mistakes early on. Anytime you’re playing the host of a tournament, you know what you’re going to get”
Thibodaux (1-0) opened the game with 20 unanswered points by converting Wildcat turnovers into easy transition baskets. Kobi Johnson benefitted most with 11 points in the quarter on five layups. A 3-pointer from Moll kept the Wildcats from being blanked, as the Tigers led 20-3 after the first quarter.
Thibodaux continued to pounce in the second quarter. Jaquan Wagner got fouled on a tough layup for a three-point play. Young made a steal at half court and sprinted for a layup as time expired to give the Tigers a 38-15 lead at intermission.
“On defense, we jumped the passing lanes well, but we we’re a slow in our rotations,” Clark explained. “That carried us through. We got a little sloppy at the end, but that’s something we’ll correct.”
“We had some guys who didn’t show up for practice the other day. I gave the kids who show the opportunity,” Smith said. “They come to practice and learn. Now let’s see who really wants it.”
Thibodaux found its perimeter shot in the third quarter, getting 3-pointers from Lacy, Shekhiry Brown and Rashad Robinson. The Tigers advantage ballooned to 56-27 after the period.
St. James (0-2) discovered its rhythm on offense and defense in the final eight minutes. Moll scored 11 points in the quarter, including a trio of three-pointers, while Burham added nine points.
Wildcats basketball won’t be at full strength until several football players return from another deep playoff run. Still, Smith won’t let that be a crutch for their performance.
“I want to see a willingness to fight until those guys get here. Don’t make excuses; we’re still St. James,” he said. “We know reinforcements are coming, but we can’t bury our heads in the sand. We got to battle.
The host Tigers are also still trying to gel as they face Ellender at 8 tonight in the next round of the tournament. The other games set for today include New Iberia versus South Lafourche at 3:30 p.m., Houma Christian versus St. James at 5 p.m. and Terrebonne versus Central Lafourche at 6:30 p.m.
“I saw a lot of positives, a few negatives. When we sub, we got to maintain the consistency. We’re still trying to mesh,” Clark said. “We’re still trying to get the whole team together. We’ve only been together for a week.”
BOYS BASKETBALL CAPSULES
CENTRAL LAFOURCHE 48, SOUTH LAFOURCHE 26
Also in the Thibodaux Thanksgiving Classic, Central Lafourche (1-0) began the game with 16 consecutive points to blow out South Lafourche.
Jamiree Williams headed the Trojans with 18 points, along with Marvin Robertson (eight points). Eric Thibodaux led the Tarpons (0-1) with six points, and Austin Cantrelle had five points.
Central Lafourche led 16-1 after the first quarter, 27-11 at halftime and 42-19 after the third quarter.
ELLENDER 62, HOUMA CHRISTIAN 56 (at Thibodaux Thanksgiving Classic in Thibodaux, nondistrict game)
Score by quarters: Houma Christian 18-16 after the first quarter, 35-27 at halftime and 46-42 at the end of the third quarter.
Statistical leaders: Ellender – Marquie Mosely (28 points), Askyrie Anderson (11 points), Jamire Mott (10 points), Kobe Hartman (nine points); Houma Christian – Trent Washington (15 points), Tre Washington (15 points), Wes Spry (11 points), Deshaun Jones (eight points).
Records: Ellender (1-0); Houma Christian (0-1).
TERREBONNE 49, NEW IBERIA 37 (at Thibodaux Thanksgiving Classic in Thibodaux, nondistrict game)
Score by quarters: Terrebonne led 15-10 after the first quarter, 28-21 at halftime and 35-33 at the end of the third quarter.
Statistical leaders: Terrebonne – KeShawn James (12 points), Daveyon Smith (11 points), Jakhi Douglas (11 points).
Records: Terrebonne (1-1); New Iberia (0-2).
BOSSIER 67, H.L. BOURGEOIS 50 (at Natchitoches-Central tournament in Natchitoches, nondistrict game)
Statistical information: HLB – Anthony "AJ" Rainey (24 points).
Records: HLB (1-1 overall); Bossier (3-0 overall)
Note: H.L. Bourgeois will play Natchitoches-Central at the tournament on Tuesday.
WHITE CASTLE 57, ASSUMPTION 51 (at White Castle tournament in White Castle, nondistrict game)
Statistical leaders: Assumption -- Marlon Robinson (21 points).
Records: Assumption (0-1); White Castle (1-0).
Note: Assumption plays Amite at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at White Castle.
FAMILY CHRISTIAN ACADEMY 64, SOUTH TERREBONNE 54 (at Dunham tournament in Baton Rouge)
Statistical information: South Terrebonne – Connor Brunet (14 points), Davonte Miller (13 points) and Tyler Smith (eight points).
Records: Family Christian (4-6 overall); South Terrebonne (1-3 overall)
Note: The Gators will play Mandeville at 2 p.m. Tuesday and Capitol at 5 p.m. Tuesday at the tournament.
E.D. WHITE FALLS IN EXHIBITION
E.D. White Catholic’s boys’ basketball team fell to Pascagoula, Miss., 64-47, in an exhibition game at the New Orleans Pelicans’ practice facility on Tuesday.
-- Complied by Chris Singleton/Staff Writer