Warriors continue rolling along
Wed. February 20, 2013 at 10:59 a.m. | By Keyon Jeff/Sports Correspondent
Houma Christian's Nate Frye (3) dribbles the ball against Montgomery's Bijon Washington during Tuesday's Class 1A bi-district playoff game in Thibodaux. (Photo by Keyon K. Jeff/Correspondent)
E.D. White Catholic's gym isn't the normal home venue for Houma Christian basketball, but the Warriors felt at home there Tuesday night.
Eighth seeded Houma Christian never trailed in their 80-55 victory over No. 25 Montgomery in the Class 1A bi-district round of the playoffs.
Nate Frye led the Warriors with 29 points, while Guy Campbell had 21, and Keamon Sims scored 16.
Houma Christian will host No. 9 East Iberville Friday in the regional round.
"The kids did a great job. For the last three or four games, they've been shooting the ball really well," Warriors head coach Freddie Frye said. "The kids did a good job keeping their poise against the pressure, defending and finding teammates when they were open."
While Montgomery started the game by missing numerous shots at the rim, the Warriors (18-9 overall) got out the gate quickly. They scored 12 straight points behind a pair of 3-pointers by Frye. When Campbell followed a teammate's miss with a put back layup as time expired, Houma Christian led 22-4 after the first quarter.
"That was really frustrating. We had some really good looks at the basket, and we just could not execute," Tigers head coach Chad Johnson said." We got to the glass, but we couldn't get it in the hole. We gave up at least 14, 16 points missing easy layup shots under the basket."
Montgomery (14-13) went to a full court press in the second quarter. However, the Warriors crisp passing and cutting easily beat the trap.
Sims and Drake Battaglia (eight points) each had back-to-back uncontested layups on backdoor cuts, pushing Houma Christian's lead to 34-13 midway through the period.
"It's not a set play; it's just our kids read what's going on," Coach Frye said. "We tell the kids to come from behind on the defense. Catch it, quick ball reversal, look inside. Everybody did a great job moving without the ball."
Frye also contributed. After hitting an acrobatic layup, he stole the inbound pass for an easy layup and increased the Warriors' lead to 42-21 at halftime.
Houma Christian was sloppy to begin the third quarter as Montgomery forced three straight turnovers. Even with double-digit scoring from Tray Turner (13) Tyrell Foster (12) and Bijon Washington (10), the closest Montgomery got to the Warriors was 19 points.
Houma Christian eventually righted the ship. As the third-quarter buzzer sounded, Battaglia nailed a running floater off the backboard to give a Houma Christian a 64-40 lead. The Tigers coaching staff voraciously argued that the shot came after the buzzer, drawing a technical foul.
In the fourth quarter, Frye scored eight straight and 10 of the Warriors final 12 points to finish the win.
"They are a well-coached and a well-disciplined team. They're very well organized and play together," said Johnson. "Nate Frye is going to be something special. He's going to the D-1 level. When you have all those factors keying in, plus we put some pressure on Frye and other players contributed, it makes it difficult."
The Tigers did not help their cause, shooting 6-for-20 from the foul line, including 1-of-10 in the second half. Meanwhile, Houma Christian sank 12-of-14 free throws in the game. Coach Frye said he will take that all day long.
"In the playoffs, it comes down to free throws," he said. "I tell kids all the time, missed layups and miss free throws haunt you. When we're knocking down those free throws, getting in the bonus early, it for good results in the end."
Despite the 25-point margin of victory, Houma Christian still areas of concerns where Frye wants his squad to do a better job.
"As you advance, (opponents) test every skill level on your team," he said. "So we have to make sure we do a better job defending, rebounding and taking care of the ball against pressure. Those are the big keys right there."