Warriors' run comes to an end
Wed. February 27, 2013 at 10:46 a.m. | By Chris Singleton/Staff Writer
BATON ROUGE — A shooting slump in the second quarter didn't help Houma Christian's chances during Tuesday's Class 1A quarterfinal playoff game against No. 1 seed Christian Life.
The Warriors scored only three points in the second quarter, which was all the defending Class 1A state champion Crusaders needed to roll to a 52-32 victory.
Christian Life (26-5 overall) moves on to the Class 1A semifinals where it will play No. 4 Country Day on Saturday. No. 8 Houma Christian's season ends with a 19-10 record.
The underdog Warriors fought hard during a first quarter that featured four lead changes. A 3-pointer from Guy Campbell put Houma Christian on top 8-6, but Christian Life got a three-point play from R.J. Hertzog and a fastbreak lay-up from Tim Holland to go up 11-8 at the end of the first quarter.
In the second quarter, the Crusaders went on a 8-3 run that put the home team ahead 19-11 at halftime. Houma Christian's only points of the quarter came on a 3-pointer from Campbell.
Houma Christian coach Freddie Frye said the Warriors couldn't find a way to get going against Christian Life, which scored most of its points in the paint off of putbacks from offensive rebounds.
"Christian Life is a good team," Coach Frye said. "They played settled and comfortable, just like we played in our first two playoff games. For some reason, the kids just could not play settled. When you're not controlling the glass and you're not controlling rebounds, and the other team is getting putbacks, it makes it tough. And when you are not knocking down shots, it makes a very long night."
The Warriors' shooting woes continued in the second half, which came at a costly time since Christian Life's 6-foot-4 junior standout Johnathan Stove scored 12 of his game-high 20 points in the third quarter to extend the Crusaders' advantage to 38-26 at the end of the period.
In the fourth quarter, Christian Life took a 20-point lead at 46-28 with 4:14 left, and the Warriors never threatened again.
Houma Christian senior star Nate Frye, who entered Tuesday's game fresh off a career-high 43 points against East Iberville last week, was held to only eight points. Warriors junior Guy Campbell also scored eight points, and senior Keamon Sims had seven points.
Nate Frye said Houma Christian couldn't find its offensive touch against Christian Life's aggressive zone defense.
"They are a good team, but they aren't 20 points better than us," Nate said. "We did some uncharacteristic things like not making shots, getting rebounds or boxing out. If we would have made half of the shots, we would have been in the game. It just wasn't falling for us."
Other leaders for Christian Life were Hertzog (13 points) and Holland (eight points).
Christian Life coach Mark Cascio said the Crusaders knew they couldn't let Houma Christian's playmakers get comfortable.
"We knew they had some very good players who could score," Cascio said. "We knew they were very well-coached. We had two very good practices leading up to it. I knew if we could bring that execution to (Tuesday's game), it would give us a chance. We did. I thought we executed very well, and that second quarter really got us going."
Although they played the top-seeded team in Class 1A, Campbell said the Warriors weren't going to back down from the challenge.
"It's just hard because we know we gave it our all," Campbell said. "It wasn't like we came out and laid down for them. We played with all our heart. It just didn't happen for us."
Tuesday's playoff showdown was the final high-school basketball game for three Houma Christian seniors — Nate Frye, Sims and ShaQuan Frye. The seniors helped lead the Warriors to four straight playoff trips and two appearances in the state quarterfinals in the last three years.
Nate Frye, a prep football and basketball standout who is getting college looks from several Division I college basketball programs, said he was sad to see his high school career end, but he won't forget all the memories.
"I'm disappointed, but I'm proud of how far God has brought this team," Nate said. "I think we had more fans here during (Tuesday's game) than Christian Life did. It's awesome. It has been a great career for me, and I don't have any regrets. The fan support is incredible. In my 11 years at Houma Christian, I've never seen so much school spirit in Houma Christian athletics. It was just incredible. I was glad to just be apart of it. I thank God for it."
Coach Frye praised the efforts of all three seniors, and he also had bittersweet emotions of watching his son Nate play his final game in a Houma Christian uniform.
"I was extremely proud of him," Coach Frye said. "You didn't want him to go out like this. If you are going to lose, you want him to go out playing well. I know he's going to beat himself up because he didn't play his best, but he's got to move forward and look forward to where he's going in the future."
Coach Frye said the Warriors will face a rebuilding effort next year, but he is happy the team's young players got a chance to experience the team's success this season, which will set the foundation for future success.
"This has been an incredible ride for a bunch of young men," Coach Frye said. "I don't think a lot of people looking at us at the beginning of the season would've even imagined that this team would be playing for a spot in the state semifinals against the No. 1 team in the state. I'm disappointed we didn't win, but we far exceeded any expectations. I'm very proud of the kids and how they played."