By Trent Friedel, exclusive to the Times
The boy’s game at the teepee Tuesday pitted the second seeded Ouachita Lions with a 25 – 5 record against Natchitoches Central, the number seven seed in class 5-A, for senior night. Both squads were anxious to get on the court as the girl’s game went to the wire and pre-heated the court. Natchitoches Central won the tip but couldn’t score in the front court, but got a steal that was quickly recaptured by the Lions. #1 Owens breaks the ice on scoring hitting a middle of the lane jumper for Ouachita.
The Chiefs answer and then the Lions scored again in quick transition. A tip in offensive board tied the score and then a trey got them the go ahead, score 7 – 4. Both teams were lightning fast in transition. Lions got back on top after #24 Jackson was fouled going to goal left handed. They led 9 – 7 with the midway of the first period ticking by. The teams traded ends of the court a couple of times and Lions missed three, 3-point shots and have plenty of offensive rebounds.
Coach Micah Coleman called a timeout to re-focus his group. They responded by penetrating the lane and scoring to tie things up at 9 with 1:29 on the clock. Ouachita set their half-court offense and bleed clock until a traveling call gave the Chiefs the ball back with under 50 seconds. Curtis got a mid-range jumper to fall and Chiefs led 11 – 9 as the quarter ends on a foul in transition. To open the second, Lions scored on right handed layup. Chief’s answer with a score. The teams traded three-point shots from beyond the arc. Ouachita got the lead back and has the ball after Chiefs went cold on shooting. Natchitoches Central was in the bonus and had a chance to take the lead back at the free throw line, but no shots fell.
They got another chance at the line and closed the gap to one, 18 – 17. Lions are not worried and grew the deficit to six points as they lead 23 – 17 with under 3 minutes in the half. Man to man defense was the set for both squads as the Lion’s made the half time score 27 – 18 in their favor. Ouachita emerged from the break with the lead and the ball. Big #5 Washington got the easy put back rebound for the Lions on their second trip down the floor. Lions were now up 31 – 18. Chiefs #11 Carpenter dropped a shot in the lane and was fouled in the process. His free throw rang true for the “and one” but Lions answered with a score on their next possession. It’s an 11-point game, 33-22, favoring Ouachita. With under four to go, the Chiefs attempted to heat up the teepee with a steal and score but still can not get offensive rebounds to fall in their favor. Play slows with 1:55 ticking by as the Lion’s played for a good shot.
They got one as they penetrated the lane for an easy bucket. 39 – 30 at the conclusion of three periods. Carpenter had a spectacular drive and scored early in the fourth and the Chiefs got a layup on the next transition to narrow the gap to five, 39 -34. Ouachita traveled and turned the ball over to the Chiefs and elected to call a time out to settle down. Natchitoches has the ball. They scored and then Carpenter stole the ball. They now trail by three, 39 – 36. Play heated up the gym as the Chiefs kept hanging around down by four-points with under four minutes to play.
Time would tick down as Lions controlled clock, but committed a charge and gave the ball back to Chiefs who are down by four, 40 – 36, with 1:51 to go. Ouachita slowed the game and went four corners forcing the Chiefs to foul and tried to make the Lions earn points at the line while stopping the clock. #3 Davis was at the line for Ouachita and converted his shots, 42 – 36 Lions. With 54.1 left, Chiefs hit a mid-range jumper and fouled the Lions immediately on the inbounds pass. Ouachita was solid at the free throw line resulting in a 47 – 38 victory over Natchitoches Central. Coach Coleman on the loss said, “We didn’t execute on offense, and couldn’t get the ball in the paint. Our second chance points would not go, and Ouachita played their game. The Lions make everything difficult, but I’m proud of how our seniors played.”
Carpenter led Chief scoring with 17. Quez Owens put in 17 for the Lions and Jamal Davis added 13.