LAKE CHARLES — A fourth-quarter scoring spree propelled top seed Thibodaux to a 63-48 win over Bonnabel in a Class 5A semifinal at Burton Coliseum.
Thibodaux (32-2) went on a 19-2 run in the fourth, taking the lead for good on three free throws by J’Mari Carter.
Those were the first points of the decisive run which saw the Tigers go from a one-point deficit to 16-point lead.
During the run, Bonnabel (26-6) missed seven field goal attempts, five free throw attempts and turned the ball over three times. Their only points came on a pair of free throws by Rodney Munson that cut Thibodaux’s lead to 50-44. The Tigers responded by scoring the next nine points.
Carter scored the first seven points in the fourth quarter for Thibodaux, finishing with a game-high 16 points. The Tigers scored on nine of 10 possessions in the run.
The Tigers, forced into a zone defense due to foul trouble, made their push in that defense.
“We shot horribly, we didn’t make much in the first half then again midway through the fourth quarter,” Bonnabel coach Glenn Dyer said.
“We have faced zone this year, we just didn’t do a good job against it today,” Dyer continued. “There was a lot of noise in the building when we were trying to call out things we wanted to run and didn’t get into good balance on offense.”
Thibodaux advances to take on the winner of the other semifinal contest between No. 2 seed Ouachita Parish and Walker, the No. 3 seed. The title game is slated for 6 p.m. Saturday.
Dyer said the Thibodaux-Bonnabel semifinal game was similar to a regular season loss to the Tigers.
“We had a lot of uncharacteristic turnovers, just dribbling the ball up the court and kicking it to them. You can’t give a good team seven or eight easy baskets. We did that again today. We got hot for a while and were able to make a run, they made a couple of mistakes, but weren’t able to sustain it,” the Bonnabel coach said.
In the third quarter, the Bruins went on a 9-0 run late to take a 39-38 lead on a Tyran Williams jumper with 48 seconds left. It was the first Bonnabel lead since midway through the first quarter.
Thibodaux made only 1 of 11 shots from the floor in the third quarter, but found its rhythm in the final frame, connecting on 5 of 9 shots from the floor and hitting 13 of 15 free throws to put the game away.
Meanwhile, Bonnabel made just 2 of 15 from the floor and 3 of 9 from the free-throw line in the final eight minutes.
“It was tough today with the foul situation, then they made a run to get back into it,” said Thibodaux coach Tony Clark. “The second half, we turned it on. We made some adjustments, going into a zone to steal a few minutes. We wanted to box out (Bonnabel center Will Allen) but didn’t do a good job of putting a body on him, especially early in the game. He is a tough player.”
Allen finished with eight points and 12 rebounds, but managed only two field goal attempts.
Munson and Donte Mitchell scored 14 points each to lead Bonnabel, but combined to go 8 for 31 from the floor against the Tigers’ tough defense.
Rashod Robinson and Kobi Johnson scored 13 points each for Thibodaux, which had five players score at least 8 points each.
“It is not often you get a team like this where so many people can score,” Clark said. “We have it. When you’re open, we expect you to hit the shot.”