Ville Platte High’s guard Jahmal Byers goes up for a basket during the Bulldogs’ game against Rayville. (Gazette photo by Yvette Jagneaux)
LAKE CHARLES -- The fourth time was not the charm for the Ville Platte High Bulldogs, as they fell to the Rayville Hornets 115-52 in the LHSAA Class 2A semi-finals Monday afternoon.
Ville Platte ended their magical season with an overall record of 29-4 and the District 6-2A championship title. The Bulldogs lose only one senior off of this year’s squad, making the future bright for the Evangeline Parish squad.
“Even though we did not get the state title that we wanted, we did have a tremendous season,” stated Ville Platte Head Coach Tommy Jones after the game. “The year we had began this summer during workouts and continued up to this point. The players went all out and played every minute of every game, including this one.”
“We have a ton of talent coming back for next year,” Jones continued. “I told the players after the game to keep their heads up and not to worry about tonight. We want to focus on next season. We tasted the Top 28 tonight and we want to taste it again. We lost only one player, senior Brandon Veazie. We are going to miss Brandon and his senior leadership. He truly stepped up this year and showed the younger guys what leadership is supposed to look like.”
Ville Platte allowed the Hornets to jump out to a 9-0 lead in the first quarter, but steadied the ship long enough to keep themselves in the game. At the end of the initial period of play, Rayville held a 22-11 lead.
The Bulldogs were able to crawl back into the game in the second quarter and gave the Ville Platte fans something to get on their feet about. Trailing by 10 points, 25-15, with 6:31 to go in the quarter, the Bulldogs proceeded to score the next eight points in a row to pull within two of the defending state champions.
However, the Hornets size and quickness did not allow Ville Platte to get any closer than two points. Over the final minutes of the second quarter, Rayville created a number of turnovers that led to easy fast breaks. When the horn has sounded to end the first half of play, the Hornets held a 56-27 lead.
The final two quarters did not produce much in the way of a comeback for Ville Platte. Nevertheless, the Bulldogs remained diligent in their hard fought play for the rest of the game.
Jones was very thankful to his assistant coaches, the fans and all of the people that supported the Bulldogs throughout the season.
“We could not have made it this far without the contribution of my assistant coaches Launey Coward, Bryant Richard and Ervin Wilson and our trainer Floyd Presscott. All of these men put in the time and effort to make us better everyday and for little pay.”
“I would also like to thank the Mayor and all of the Bulldog nation for coming out every game and giving us the energy to play at the highest level. Also, the parents of the players do a tremendous amount for this team and myself. I would like to thank them for everything they do.”
See Page 8 for a full breakdown of Monday night’s game.