GRAY – With its season on the line, the Terrebonne High boys’ basketball team entered Tuesday’s District 7-5A showdown against rival H.L. Bourgeois with a little desperation.

The Tigers are ranked at No. 34 in the latest Class 5A state power ratings, meaning that if the season ended on Tuesday, they would be on the outside looking in at the Top 32 teams that qualified for the playoffs.

So Terrebonne started Tuesday’s game strong and managed to hold off a late Braves rally to escape H.L. Bourgeois’ gym with a 60-56 win.

First-year Terrebonne coach Richard Jones said the Tigers (19-14 overall; 6-5 in district) treated Tuesday’s game as a must-win game with one week left in the regular season, especially after they suffered a 75-65 loss to Central Lafourche on Friday.

“After we dropped a tough one to Central, it was tough to pick those guys up and I struggled with it throughout the weekend,” Jones said. “We kind of picked up the theme of ‘hungry dogs are going to eat.’ When your backs are against the wall, it’s time to eat. I think that’s what we did.”

Anthony “TJ” Ruffin led Terrebonne with 15 points, while Taihgan Poindexter and Ja’Khi Douglas scored 14 points each.

Poindexter came up huge by scoring 10 of his 14 points in the second half.

“It was a big win. We needed it to go to the playoffs. We’re trying to make something happen,” Poindexter said. “We’ve been preparing all week for this game. It was win or go home. We’ve been practicing on closing out games. We came out (Tuesday night) and we wanted to finish it.”

With Terrebonne leading 58-56 with 19.2 seconds left, Poindexter nailed two key free throws that sealed the win for the Tigers.

“We knew if we got the lead and finished strong, then we were going to win the game,” Poindexter said. “It was a lot of pressure. That was some things I work on like end of the game free throws. The little things count in big games.”

Terrebonne led for nearly every moment of the game, jumping out to leads of 8-1 and 17-7 in the first quarter. The Tigers led 21-12 after the first quarter, 33-29 at halftime and 48-44 at the end of the third.

“I felt like we weren’t ready to play,” Braves coach Andrew Caillouet said. “I felt like we looked dead and I proved to be right unfortunately. I think throughout the entire game, Terrebonne played with such desperation and we just weren’t. We kept cutting the lead but we couldn’t get any closer.”

H.L. Bourgeois rallied back late, trimming the deficit to 58-56 with 51.2 seconds left, but missed free throws and putback attempts under the goal in the final minute hurt their chances.

“We just couldn’t get over the hump,” Caillouet said. “It’s just frustrating because I guess that’s been the story of our season. We’ve come up with some wins. We’ve played well enough to win but we also find a way to self-destruct. I think it comes down to Terrebonne wanting it more than we wanted it and they got the job done.”

After losing many close fourth quarter battles all season, Jones said it was great to see his team rise to the occasion and seal a win. Now they will try to beat Destrehan at home on Friday to seal a playoff berth.

“At the end of the day we finished and that’s big for us. That shows growth,” Jones said. “It wasn’t the prettiest finish and we’ve got to work on that at practice to beat a good Destrehan team on Friday. We’re going to have to find a way to finish a little bit better. We’ve got to clean some things up.”

Deondre’ Buggage led the Braves with 14 points, while Julian Woods had 10 points and Jordan Rainey scored eight points.

Caillouet said the Braves (16-14 overall; 5-6 in district; ranked at No. 30 in Class 5A state power ratings) now face a must-win game of their own at Hahnville on Friday if they want to make the playoffs.

“We’ll see what we’re made of. Are we going to come out and play with effort, or are we going to roll over and play dead?” Caillouet said. “It doesn’t give you a good feeling as a coach when you kids come out and don’t give effort. That mean they are not in a good mindset, and they have to do that. That’s on them. Hopefully we are in a good mindset for Friday and come out with a big victory.

TUESDAY’S BOYS BASKETBALL CAPSULES

THIBODAUX 83, EAST ST. JOHN 57 (at Thibodaux, District 7-5A game)

Statistical leaders: Thibodaux -- Jmari Carter (17 points, nine rebounds), Marvin Robertson (15 points, five rebounds, four assists, three steals), Kobi Johnson (12 points, seven assists, six rebounds, four steals), Rashod Robinson (12 points, four assists, four steals) and Rashad Winslow (six points, 11rebounds, three steals)

Records: Thibodaux Thibodaux (27-2 overall; 11-0 in district); East St. John (9-24 overall; 3-8 in district)

HAHNVILLE 56, CENTRAL LAFOURCHE 49 (at Boutte, District 7-5A game)

Statistical leaders: CL – Courtney Smith (11 points), Alex Sanders (10 points)

Records: Hahnville (20-12 overall; 8-3 in district); CL (6-21 overall; 1-10 in district)

ELLENDER 74, E.D. WHITE CATHOLIC 31 (at Houma, District 7-4A game)

Statistical leaders: Ellender – Frank Robinson (15 points, 12 rebounds), Dionjahe Thomas (11 points, 10 rebounds), Preston Bourda (11 points), TyShaun Hester (11 points); EDW -- Matt Rodrigue (nine points). 

Note: Ellender won a share of the District 7-4A title with the win. They can win it outright by beating South Terrebonne on Friday.

Records: Ellender (24-8 overall; 5-0 in district); EDW (19-8 overall; 2-3 in district)

SOUTH LAFOURCHE 39, SOUTH TERREBONNE 31 (at Galliano, District 7-4A game)

Score by quarter: South Terrebonne led 8-6 after the first quarter, South Terrebonne led 13-10 at halftime and South Lafourche led 22-19 at the end of the third quarter.

Statistical leaders: South Lafourche – Eric Thibodaux (12 points), Trey Gallagher (11 points); South Terrebonne – Christian Arceneaux (12 points), Terrance Sims (10 points)

Records: South Lafourche (11-15 overall; 2-4 in district); South Terrebonne (8-22 overall; 0-5 in district)

MORGAN CITY 56, VANDEBILT CATHOLIC 43 (at Houma, District 7-4A game)

Score by quarter: Vandebilt led 20-12 after the first quarter, Vandebilt led 24-20 at halftime and Morgan City led 42-34 at the end of the third quarter.

Statistical leaders: Vandebilt – Seth Ponson (11 points), Sean Diebold (11 points), Cullen Duplantis (eight points)

Records: Morgan City (15-12 overall; 4-1 in district); Vandebilt (7-19 overall; 1-4 in district)

ST. JAMES 57, LUSHER 55 (at Vacherie, District 10-3A game)

Statistical leaders: St. James – Shamar Smith (20 points, five steals), Keithon Burham (16 points, 14 rebounds, four blocks), Savion Jones (11 points).

Records: St. James (13-20 overall; 3-3 in district); Lusher (18-11 overall; 5-3 in district)

Compiled by Chris Singleton/Staff Writer