Thibodaux High’s home gym lived up to its reputation as one of the area’s toughest high school basketball venues during Tuesday’s nondistrict game against Assumption.
With their loud and energetic home crowd cheering them on, the Tigers jumped out to an early 16-point lead in the first six minutes of the game, setting the tone for an eventual 65-47 win over the Mustangs.
Thibodaux opened the game with a 18-2 lead, which was highlighted by 3-pointers from Kyren Lacy and Kobi Johnson and a fastbreak one-handed slam from Jaquan Wagner. The fast start ignited the Tigers' home crowd and got them roaring early and often.
It was Thibodaux’s first home game since Nov. 22, and the Tigers used the homecourt advantage to take a 18-10 lead after the first quarter and 40-20 lead at halftime.
“The kids were excited to be playing back here,” Thibodaux coach Tony Clark said. “We’ve played a three-game stretch on the road. They were just excited to get back home and play, and you could tell by the way we started.”
First-year Assumption coach Derek Szush is no stranger to Thibodaux’s gym. He is a former Thibodaux student and assistant basketball coach, and he has spent time on the opposing sideline as a head coach at Terrebonne and now Assumption.
So Szush said he warned his players about what to expect in Thibodaux’s gym.
“I told them you’ve got to keep the crowd out of the game. I think we had to use three timeouts in the first six minutes,” Szush said. “We got down 18-2 and the crowd started going. It’s one of the better home crowds in our area.”
Wagner, who led Thibodaux with 18 points, 14 rebounds and four blocks, said the Tigers wanted to play with plenty of energy to start the game.
“We try to do that every game,” Wagner said. “We know we’ve got a good team this year. I feel we can do big things. That’s just expected of us.”
Thibodaux continued its dominance in the second half, taking a 52-30 advantage after the third quarter.
Szush said Assumption, which got 14 points from Dongell Washington and nine points from Marlon Robinson, tried to fight back but just couldn’t catch up with Thibodaux.
“Every time we made a run, they would make a big play,” Szush said. “The kids fought in the second half. We got some good looks once we finally settled down. We just can’t let anybody get up on us that quick in the first half. Credit to their defense in the first half. They held us to 20 points. They smothered us.”
Other leading scorers for Thibodaux were Kyren Lacy (14 points, six rebounds), Kobi Johnson (11 points, four assists, four steals), Corey Johnson (seven points, six assists, four steals) and Damarcus Mitchell (six points and rebounds each).
“We play well when multiple people are scoring,” Clark said. “That’s what we had. Jaquan led us in scoring again, but everybody was getting baskets at the right time. Everybody played well and hustled.”
Wagner said Thibodaux’s defensive pressure prevented Assumption (3-5 overall) from finding any rhythm.
“Our defensive intensity was a big part of our game,” Wagner said. “That’s really how we are getting a lot of our wins with our defensive intensity.”
Thibodaux improved to 7-0 overall this season with the win, but Clark said the Tigers can’t get too ahead of themselves.
“It’s a good start, but I know it’s still early in the season,” Clark said. “I still expect them to improve and I feel like we could still do better.”
And Wagner, who capped an impressive performance putback dunk in the fourth quarter, said the Tigers want to keep it going.
“It feels good to have an undefeated record,” Wagner said. “We’re just going to keep working and striving to get better.”
BOYS BASKETBALL CAPSULES
TERREBONNE 57, HOUMA CHRISTIAN 48 (at Houma, nondistrict game)
Statistical leaders: Terrebonne — Daveyon Smith (16 points), Justin Wallis (14 points), Jakhi Douglas (11 points); Houma Christian — Trent Washington (25 points), Tre Washington (14 points), Je’Corie Ward (eight points).
Records: Terrebonne (3-5 overall); Houma Christian (2-4 overall).
SOUTH TERREBONNE 74, LAKE AREA NEW TECH 54 (at Bourg, nondistrict game)
Statistical leaders: South Terrebonne — Zentrel Thibodaux (15 points), Connor Brunet (14 points), Ron Cox Jr. (14 points), Tyler Smith (12 points) and Terrance Sims (nine points).
Records: South Terrebonne (4-5 overall); Lake Area (1-10 overall).
WEST ST. MARY 67, E.D. WHITE CATHOLIC 52 (at Baldwin, nondistrict game)
Statistical leaders: E.D.White — Peyton Amedee (21 points); Charles Brady (10 points).
Records: West St. Mary (2-4 overall); EDW (1-3 overall).
COVENANT CHRISTIAN ACADEMY 54, LUTHERAN 28 (at Houma, nondistrict game)
Statistical leaders: CCA — Dakarai Johnson (18 points, 11 rebounds), Anthony Ruffin (10 points).
Records: CCA (3-2 overall); Lutheran (3-6 overall).
— Complied by Chris Singleton/Staff Writer