By Sam Muffoletto
MAUREPAS - The 25th Annual Livingston Parish Basketball Tournament got under way in full swing Tuesday with some key match-ups the boys brackets.
The tournament tipped off with Holden's boys, who were seeded eighth, shook off a much-improved No. 9 Doyle team for a 54-38 win.
For the Rockets, that paved the way for tonight's match-up with No. 1 seeded Springfield, which has five tournament championships on its ledger.
"Getting that first win was big," said Holden head coach John Hill, whose Class B Rockets improved to 12-7 on the year. "The only downside to winning is now having to play (Springfield) Coach (Mark) Erdey, one of the legends of Livingston Parish. But I'm looking forward to going out there and having fun. Our boys have nothing to lose."
Erdey is the only active parish coach who was part of the first parish tournament in 1985, which his team won in a legendary six-overtime final over Denham Springs. Erdey is tied with former DSHS head coach Paul Smith with five each.
Holden (boys) 54
Senior Destin Leblanc returned to Holden's lineup after missing more than a dozen games and scored a game-high 27 points. Those offensive spurts at the end of the third and fourth quarters lifted the Rockets to a come-from-behind first-round win over Doyle.
Doyle erased a one-point (24-23) halftime deficit by outscoring Holden 6-2 to open the third period to take a 29-26 lead. Carlton Sibley powered the Tigers' early second-half spurt with a 3-point bucket and two more on hook inside.
Holden went on a 9-2 run to close out the third period, as Leblanc scored the final six points, beginning with a steal and lay-in to regain the lead for the Rockets.
While Doyle's eight-minute drought continued early in the fourth quarter, Leblanc opened the final period with a baseline jumper, followed by an inside loose-ball bucket by Joseph Bordelon to open up a 39-30 lead.
Logan Jones finally connected for Doyle from the baseline on the inside with 6:10 left, but the Rockets went on an 8-2 run powered on the inside by Michael Woods, along with a driving lay-up by Leblanc to open up double-digit lead for the Rockets at 47-34.
Leblanc scored 11 fourth-period points, including 5-of-7 from the free throw line.
"It was a big game for him in his return," said Holden head coach John Hill. "He hit some free throws down the stretch that was huge for us, but more importantly, he brought some intensity on defense."
Coby Nicken was also in double-figures for Holden with 10 points, followed by Joseph Bordelon with six and David Simoneaux with five.
Tyler Cotton was high-scorer for Doyle with 10 points, including a pair of 3-point goals, while teammates Britton Willie and Carlton Sibley had seven points apiece.
The game began nip-and-tuck with lead changing hands seven times in the opening period, before the Rockets scored the final five points on a 3-pointer by Simoneaux and a steal and lay-in by Leblanc to take a 13-9 lead.
After stretching their lead to six points on an opening bucket by Leblanc on another steal and lay-in, Doyle came back with six straight points on field goals by Kody Sibley, Cotton and Jones to knot-up the game at 15-all midway in the second period.
The Tigers regained the lead late in the second period thanks to back-to-back 3-point buckets by Jade Delauneville and Cotton, but Leblanc turned a three-point deficit into a one-point Rocket lead at halftime with back-to-back baskets of his own in the final 40 seconds of the first half.
"Doyle did a heck of a job," said Hill "Their (first-year) head coach (Sam Coates) has done a great job with them. They've all grown. They've been in the weight room. The only thing hurt them was some of the shots going down for them in the first half, didn't in the second half. But overall, they did a good job."
Doyle 9 14 7 8 - 38
Holden 12 11 11 17 - 54
DOYLE: Tyler Cotton 10, Britton Willie 7, Carlton Sibley 7, Logan Jones 5, Jade Delauneville 3, Kody Sibley 2. HOLDEN: Destin Leblanc 27, Coby Nickens 10, Joseph Bordelon 6, David Simoneaux 5, Michael Woods 4.
Courtesy of the Livingston Parish News