I was able to play in some great games as a member of Maurepas High School’s basketball team, the greatest of which were the battles we had against French Settlement. My favorite game had to be in 2005 as a junior. It was the first time I actually got on the floor against the Lions. Here’s the article covering the game from The Livingston Parish News:
MAUREPAS – “It was just a good old fashioned Livingston Parish basketball game.”
That’s how Maurepas head boys basketball coach Evan Balfantz – who has seen his share of battles with French Settlement High school both as a player and now in his second season at the helm of the Wolves program – summed up Friday’s nailbiter of a District 11-B contest Friday, where his Wolves fought off a 31-point period by the Lions in claiming a 64-62 win to open District 11-B action.
“It was physical, intense and full of close calls,” Balfantz said. “That’s what you expect when these two teams lock up. We both brought it tonight, and we were fortunate enough to come out on top.”
French Settlement head coach Kenny Gautreau said that he felt that numerous fouls on his team early on were a contributing factor in the game’s outcome.
“Maurepas is a great team,” Gautreau said. “Evan does a great job. Both teams played extremely hard tonight. There were some calls that didn’t go our way and there were some calls that weren’t caught. But that’s the way the game goes, I guess.”
With the win, Maurepas improved to 17-13 overall and started district action at 1-0. After hosting Northlake Christian this past Tuesday, the Wolves travel to Holden for another district contest Friday.
French Settlement saw its record fall to .500 at 15-15 overall, with a 0-1 start in district play heading into a non-district contest with Family Christian this past Tuesday. The Lions travel to Northlake Christian Friday.
Entering the third quarter with a slim 23-22 lead, Maurepas controlled the period by holding the Lions to only nine points, while scoring 19 of their own. French Settlement closed the difference to within four, 32-38, with 3:56 left after a Jordan Borskey trey. But Maurepas responded with a 6-3 run over the next three-plus minutes to extend its lead to 38-31.
As the quarter wound down, Maurepas’ Clay Lauzervich tossed up a half court Hail Mary that swished through the basket as time expired, sending the Wolves fans in attendance into a frenzy. Lauzervich was also fouled on the play, and sank his charity stripe shot to put Maurepas ahead, 42-31, entering the fourth period.
“To be honest, I was watching the foul on the play and yelling at the refs,” Balfantz said of Lauzervich’s half-court heroics. “Then, I looked at the goal and watched the ball fall in and everyone went crazy.”
The final frame was as competitive as one could imagine. The teams traded buckets for the first two minutes, before the Lions roared back to close to within four, 50-46, on two T.J. Westbrook free throws at the 5:09 mark.
The difference hovered at four or five points for the next four minutes, with Maurepas keeping the Lions just out of reach until Josh Crowder drained a 3-pointer from the parking lot – his second of two treys in the period – to cut the deficit to two, 64-62, with only 10 seconds left.
Lauzervich missed both free throw attempts after being fouled with 5 seconds left. Dustin McMorris grabbed the rebound and shot the ball to Borskey, whose half-court shot fell short as time expired.
French Settlement opened the contest with a 5-0 run. The Lions kept Maurepas down for most of the quarter, dominating the boards and posting a 10-point period to lead 10-6 after one quarter.
The Wolves came out in the second quarter and quickly tied the game at 10-all, but saw French Settlement score four unanswered points before tying the game again on a Destin Poche layup.
Maurepas took the lead on a wide open shot from Cole Berthelot off the inbound pass at the 3:05 mark. The teams traded the lead back and forth before Maurepas took the lead, 21-17 on a three-point play by Lauzervich.
Westbrook hit a pair of free throws to close to within two, 21-19 with just over two minutes to go until halftime. After a Poche arching shot found the net to put the Wolves up 23-19, Crowder drained a 3-pointer as time expired to put the Lions down by only a point, 23-22, at the half.
“Our guys did a great job of working their way inside,” Balfantz said. “French Settlement has a size advantage on us because they have two or three good-sized guys who can get inside. Besides Destin, we don’t have a lot of big guys who can muscle their way into the paint. But guys like Justin and Clay and Cole made it happen.
“Having a one-point lead at halftime was big,” Balfantz said. “I told the guys in the locker room that both of these teams wanted this game. I know French Settlement wanted it bad, and so did we. I just asked them if they wanted it more and if they did, they had to play like it. They definitely did that. I’m proud of our performance tonight. Hopefully, we can keep it going through district and be in there at the end.
“Josh came in and shot pretty well,” Gautreau said of his senior shooting guard. “He didn’t have a great first half, but he came up clutch in the second half and kept us in this ball game. He and T.J. both played big ball tonight.
“I’m proud of our team, but we have some things to work on if we want to come out of this district with the title,” Gautreau said. “Both Holden and Maurepas are tough. Hopefully, we can put this loss behind us and use it to inspire us to play even harder.”
Poche took scoring honors for Maurepas, finishing with 23 points to go with five rebounds. Lauzervich added 19 points, Johnson, while finishing with only four points, grabbed six boards of his own.
For French Settlement, Westbrook finished as high scorer with 22 points – including a trio of 3-pointers. Josh Crowder tallied 14 points, while Chris Henderson finished with 10 points.
French Settlement 10 12 9 31 – 62
Maurepas 6 17 19 22 – 64
FRENCH SETTLEMENT: T.J. Westbrook 22, Josh Crowder 14, Chris Henderson 10, Will Averett 8, Jordan Borskey 6, Jordan Gautreau 1, Darryl Bourgeois 1; MAUREPAS: Destin Poche 23, Clay Lauzervich 19, Cole Berthelot 10, Austin Dixon 5, Justin Johnson 4, Seth Bourgeois 3. (Looney)
The writer mentions Clay Lauzervich hitting a half-court shot at the end of the third quarter. What isn’t mentioned is that Clay almost slugged me after he made the shot. I was trailing just a couple feet behind him on the break, and when he hit the shot, I put my hands up and started running up to him just as he turned around and pumped his fist. It looked pretty funny when we caught it while watching the tape of the game a few days later.
I get a jump ball against French Settlement (Dowty).
Avery goes for a steal against Live Oak (Muffoletto).
Dowty, Mike. “FSHS Lions Take a Bite Out of Wolves.” The Livingston Parish News [Livingston, LA] 12 Feb. 2006. Web. 22 Apr. 2011.
Looney, Aaron E. “Maurepas Boys Outlast FSHS in 11-B Thriller.” The Livingston Parish News [Livingston, LA] 27 Jan. 2005. Web. 22 Apr. 2011.
Muffoletto, Sam. “Glenmora Nips Live Oak at Buzzer.” The Livingston Parish News [Livingston, LA] 1 Jan. 2006. Web. 22 Apr. 2011.