Natchitoches Central boys could not be stopped as they continue to roll with a 59-49 victory over St. Amant Tuesday night. They advance to the Class 5A Quarterfinals of the LHSAA Boys’ Basketball Playoffs. NCHS started the game slowly out the gates and St. Amant made them pay for it by taking an 11-7 lead early in the first quarter, forcing Chief’s Head Coach Kolton Sepulvado to take an early time out to get his team back focused.
Central closed the first on a 7-0 run and a deep buzzer beating three-pointer from senior guard Sean Lacour. Sepulvado knew the way to this win was feeding the post and getting their big men involved early.
“We want to push our break and try to pound it inside the best we can. We want to attack inside out, and we trust our guards to knock down shots, but we tell them when we go inside out it opens so much more for them,” said Coach Sepulvado. “When Darius Young and Jaiden Hare are getting touches and they’re active it creates so much for us because even if our guards take a good shot and miss it, we can trust our big men to crush the boards and get the rebound. We did that in spurts early then we kind of went away from it, then we got back to it late. We just have to put it together for four quarters.”
Both senior forwards put on a show to help advance to the next round. Young scored 24 points and pulled down 13 boards. Hare scored 13 points and led the way defensively. “We expect huge things out of our two senior big men inside, they must set the tone early and often, especially on the defensive side of the ball with Jaiden Hare because we trust him a ton defensively. The same with our guards Gerald Williams, Sean Lacour, Caylin Demars and Justin Aaron,” Sepulvado said. “We’ve got to have them trust what we do, and you are going get your opportunities feeding off those bigs, but they know what is expected. The effort tonight is not going to be enough Friday night and we need even more out of them Friday night. Every day has to be better than the last if you want to keep playing in March.”
NCHS will play Captain Shreve Friday at home. Tip off is 6:30 p.m. Sepulvado knows how important every game is for the rest of the season. A bad 30 seconds could end your season, so he preaches the importance of playing hard every play and leaving everything on the floor each night. The Chiefs did not get a chance to play Captain Shreve during the regular season because of quarantine, but he knows they are a tough team and is expecting a battle.
“It is going be a dog fight. Shreve is a school that is in our district, but we did not get to play them because of quarantine. They are good; they are going be tough and they are hard nose. They preach a lot of the same stuff we do,” Sepulvado said. “Defense first, being physical and being tough. They have a really good player in John Mitchell, AC Bryant and a very good supporting cast that plays well with those guys. It is going be a really good game Friday night because if you are still playing then you’re really good.”