I was asked to read a few Bible verses at my cousin’s wedding. When the time for the reading came around, I went to the front and stood and waited for my cue from the pastor–only I didn’t get it. He just kept going, and all the while I’m standing up there with the bride and groom like I’m next in line to get hitched. I think my Uncle Will signaled him or something because he finally stopped so I could do my part. They were laughing about it when I returned to the back. Someone joked that it looked like I was staying up there to catch the groom in case he tried to run off.
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.
Each year, WAFB does a series of video segments featuring valedictorians and top graduates from schools around the Baton Rouge area. As valedictorian, I was the representative for Maurepas High School. There are a lot of schools in the Baton Rouge areas, so they record the segments on different days. Basically, graduates showed up on a certain day at the Lod Cook Alumni Center on the LSU campus. The event was catered by Chef John Folse. To this day, I don’t know how he managed to make plain finger sandwiches taste so good. My mom also took a picture of some of us with WAFB anchorwoman Donna Britt.
After eating, some of the WAFB personalities gave speeches. Meteorologist Jay Grimes could’ve been mistaken for a professional football player. The man is huge. When the speeches were over, we recorded both the individual and group videos. A few weeks later, I received a VHS tape from WAFB in the mail with the recording of my group’s commercial.
Here’s a 2006 article from The Livingston Parish News covering my class’ graduation from Maurepas:
MAUREPAS – Graduation ceremonies honored 26 seniors at Maurepas School Friday night.
Valedictorian Austin Dixon was named Student of the Year, won a Faculty Scholarship and a Southeastern Louisiana University 4-year Honors Award for $9,200.
Dixon also won the American Legion Ladies Auxiliary Award and the Gerald Bantaa Humanitarian Award.
Salutatorian Justin Johnston also won a faculty scholarship, and an American Legion Award.
Both Dixon and Johnston received TOPS awards and Regents Scholars awards.
Regents scholars awards are presented to students who earned a 3.5 grade point average taking a college preparatory TOPS curriculum and made at least a 20 on the ACT test.
Other Regents scholars who also received the TOPS award were Julie Arthur, Seth Bourgeois, Ashley Cox, Jonathan Ellis, Kyle Hatcher, Ashley Lambert and Lucas Stowe.
Other TOPS award winners, having at least a 20 on the ACT with a TOPS curriculum, were Randy Owens and Joshua Rathe.
Rathe was the Academic Endorsement Winner. He also won a four-year Southeastern Louisiana University Honors Award for $2,800 for earning a 3.0 grade point average or better, with the Tops curriculum, and a 24 or higher ACT score.
Rathe also won the Woodmen of the World Award for the highest American History grade.
Ashley Cox also won an American Legion Award, a Knights of Columbus Award, and the Steve Bovia Award.
Ashley Lambert also won an American Legion Ladies Auxiliary Award and the Clark Farrell Award savings bond and plaque.
Lucas Stowe also won the Eatel Award, a laptop computer, which is given to an outstanding student in the fields of telecommunications and engineering.
Cole Berthelot and Jacob Powell won TOPS Awards certificates for at least a 17 score on the ACT with a TOPS curriculum. Cole Berthelot also won the $500 Hubie Leader Memorial Scholarship.
Talent Search awards for participation in Talent Search through Southeastern Louisiana University were given to Cole Berthelot, Kyle Hatcher, Ashley Jenkins, Justin Johnston and Randy Owens.
Cole Berthelot, Hollie Sharp and Ashley Jenkins were given 4-H awards.
Randy Owens won the lma Hughes Vocational Award and a Knights of Columbus Award.
Masonic Awards for patriotism and citizenship went to Julie Arthur and Charles Dupuy.
Department of Army Scholar and Athlete Awards went to Julie Arthur and Seth Bourgeois.
Also graduating Friday were Justin Adams, Chantel Bales, Russell Bell, Sabrina David, Chase Delatte, Joshua Fritsche, Kade Johnson, Corey Moran, Lyndsay Norris and Nick Richardson. (Dowty)
Dowty, Alice. “Maurepas Graduation.” The Livingston Parish News [Livingston, LA] 18 May 2006: A12. Print.
Near the end of my senior year of high school, a student vs. faculty charity basketball game was planned to benefit the March of Dimes. A few of the seniors and I wanted to do something a little extra for the game, and I came up with the idea of making our team a set of jerseys with t-shirt iron-on transfers. There was an immediate and unanimous decision to name the team after Chuck Norris, and after floating around potential names like “Chucksters,” we decided on “Team Chuck.” After filling out our roster, I went around and got plain, white t-shirts from everyone that wanted a jersey. I spent the night before the game working on an old computer designing the shirts, printing and cutting them out, and ironing them onto the shirts. The computer was so old, it only had a one-gigabyte hard drive.
The front of the jerseys featured our “Team Chuck” name above and below a cut-out of Chuck Norris’ head. The top-left of the front read, “STUDENTS vs FACULTY BASKETBALL GAME; MARCH 17, 2006; MAUREPAS GYM.” The top-right was blank, save for two exceptions. Our coach Chase Delatte (a senior) had a shirt that spelled out “Coach” with the letter “C” sporting a Chuck Norris-esque mullet. The team captains, Lucas Stowe (another senior) and myself, both sported the “mullet C.” The jersey number was split on the left and right sides of Chuck’s head. Everyone picked their own numbers. I told them I didn’t care what number they wanted, so I found myself making some jerseys with numbers like “3.14,” “07,” “XVXI,” and “.5.”
The back of the jerseys near the neck had a small Texas Ranger badge. Under the badge was the player’s name or nickname, and under that was the player’s number. There was also a small block of text on the lower back, but I can’t remember what it was for. It was probably a quote from Chuck Norris or a motivational message.
Like any good high school basketball team, we had a plan for pre-game warm-ups. I thought we should run out to the theme from the television show “Walker, Texas Ranger.” Lucas wanted to use Hulk Hogan’s “Real American” theme. We compromised and used both. Lucas also had a large American flag that he planned to run with and wave around. It vanished a few minutes before warm-ups, so we had to do without it.
After we had already started layup drills, the teachers ran out for warm-ups, and the boys’ head basketball coach, Evan Balfantz, was leading the charge with Lucas’ American flag. He had swiped and hidden it in the girls’ locker room, which was being used by the faculty team for that afternoon. We never would’ve found it since Team Chuck was using the boys’ locker room.
I won’t lie about it. We got beat bad. My excuse is that we were trying to make sure everyone got at least two quarters of playing time, regardless if that person was a basketball player. The faculty team was doing the same, though not nearly to the same degree.
It’d be pretty cool to bring back Team Chuck in the future for some kind of game or event. That beat down needs to be avenged somehow.
Our final home game of the 2005-2006 season was a district game against Holden. All of the seniors were presented with balloons, candy, and an autograph ball. We lost 58-54, which dropped us into a tie for second place in district with Holden. We eventually had to play a tie-breaker game against Holden at a neutral location.