Missed free throws, mistakes cost Ferriday against North Caddo

Published 12:05 am Saturday, March 4, 2017

One win.

That’s how close Ferriday High School was to punching its ticket to Lake Charles and cementing itself among the final four teams.

But on Friday night, in front of an overflowing crowd inside the Ferriday Junior High gymnasium, the Trojans’ dreams of hoisting the LHSAA Class 2A state championship trophy were dashed away.

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Third-ranked Ferriday was upset by No. 6 North Caddo, 69-64, sending the Rebels to the semifinals and leaving the Trojans scratching their heads as to what went wrong.

The pivotal stretch for Ferriday came late in the third quarter after it clawed its way to within one point, 37-36. North Caddo (25-10-1) pushed its lead to nine to close out the third, and eventually led by as many as 15 points early in the final period.

However, Ferriday (22-7) wouldn’t go away quietly as it closed the deficit to five with 90 seconds remaining and to as little as three with eight seconds to play.

“Every time we tried to make a little run, we put ourselves in trouble by either not being aggressive enough on the boards or creating a cheap, silly foul or a turnover,” Ferriday coach K.G. Watkins said. “We were mistake ridden tonight.”

Ferriday struggled all game long from the free-throw line, connecting on just six of 18 attempts. North Caddo, meanwhile, made 21 of 24 attempts, including 14 of 15 in the fourth.

“That’s the name of the game right there,” Watkins said. “If we shoot what we’re supposed to — 70 percent — as bad as we played, we still win the game. You can’t shoot 30 percent from the free-throw line. That’s the difference.”

Dantrieze Scott had 17 points and Marquell Griffin had 15 to lead Ferriday. Jer’Lyric Brooks contributed with 10 points, while Carlos Collins had nine and Dare Rosenthal six.

“We were right there,” Collins said. “All we had to do was win. I know we could have won, but I know I didn’t too much, either.”

Rosenthal saw action for the first time since early in the year and was a major factor. The 6-foot-7, barrel-chested junior helped spark the Trojans’ third-quarter rally.

Chris Thomas led North Caddo with 25 points and Darrin Scott had 15.

“They’re a good team, and I’m not taking anything away from them, but they had two guys that did all of their scoring,” Watkins said.

The Rebels led at the end of the first 16-11 and again at halftime, 27-25.

“I’ve been telling our guys that these guys are long, they’re aggressive and that they were going to come out and try and block some shots, and they did that early,” Watkins said. “It just seemed like it threw some intimidation at some guys from doing what we’ve worked on — giving them a head fake, going around them and taking an easy shot. We didn’t run our offense extremely well. Tonight was just a culmination of what should have been and what could have been.”

North Caddo advances to play Rayville on Wednesday in Lake Charles.

Ferriday will return the majority of its core players for 2018 but will lose Collins, Ronald Williams, Zavier Davis and Jalen Russ.

“I just thought this was a good chance and a good opportunity this year,” Watkins said. “I felt very comfortable with this group. I thought we played with heart in the end, but it was just too little too late.”