Enthusiastic fans and “judgmental calls” stomped Grambling Laboratory High School’s chances to beat I-20 rivals Arcadia High School, 38-35, on Tuesday.
“We defended well,” said head coach Antonio Hudson. “Arcadia is the No. 1 team in the state, and to hold them to 38 points speaks loudly of our defense.”
Davauhnte Turner led the Kittens with 14 points, seven rebounds and two steals, and Marty Tolston trailed with eight points and seven rebounds. The Hornet’s Daquarian Fields scored a team-high of 14 points in the win.
The fast-paced, low-scoring game was filled with emotion from neighboring communities. Elevated anticipation caused both teams to turn over the ball repetitively, and the Kittens were charged with more than six personal fouls for charging.
“Every day in practice and every game, I preach to my kids to penetrate the hole hard,” Hudson said. “It’s a judgmental call.”
As the time expires for halftime, A. Baker for AHS came out flying out sky to block Turner’s breakaway lay-up. Turner is fouled by D. Fields on the play, and makes one of two from the charity stripe. The Kittens go into the locker room up by one, 13-12.
Both teams picked up their momentum offensively in the third quarter, nearly scoring double the points of the first half.
The Kittens and Hornets continued to trade baskets; the game was tight and the emotions were high.
With less than three minutes left in the third, Turner tied the game 22-22 with a corner 3-pointer, energizing the GHS crowd.
The Kittens had a chance to take the lead, but Tylan Dean for GHS was called for another charge. The Hornets headed to the line and made one of two free throws.
At the end of the third, the Hornets led by one point, 23-24.
The game was intense for the players and fans. Entering the final quarter, some fans became a little irritated with referees. One AHS fan was asked to leave the game because of trash talk said to the officials.
Tolston started the fourth quarter hot, scoring two back-to-back shots, 27-24.
Arcadia fans grew more rowdy as their team dropped behind by three. Tracey Hampton took it down low, after a combination of post moves and put the ball into hoop. The Hornets cut the lead to one, 28-27.
Arcadia fans and cheerleaders started yelling, “DEFENSE” as Turner drained a clutch 3-pointer to put the Kittens up by two, 30-28.
Tradious Fielding answered with a quick bucket to tie the game, 30-30.
The Kittens called a timeout with one minute to play.
“I reminded them we were still in the game,” said Hudson. He said he drew up a play for the Kittens to attack the rim.
Grambling Lab was unable to connect on the basket. D. Fielding missed both of his free throws, which would have put the Hornets up by three, 34-33.
The Kittens had another chance to take the lead, but committed another turnover.
“We had a few plays at the end of the game, where we turned the ball over,” said the coach. “We needed to take advantage of those opportunities.”
With the ball in the Kittens possession, they fell short to connect on a game-winning bucket. After two game-clenching free throws from the Hornets, the Kittens drop to the Hornets, 37-34.
Grambling Lab’s next game is against Haynesville at home on Friday at the Fredrick C. Hobdy Assembly Center.