Anacoco tops Choudrant to return to Top 28

Published 6:48 am Friday, March 4, 2022

By Daniel Green |  BWS Sports
ANACOCO – The road has been rocky at times. But the second-ranked Anacoco Indians have persevered.
“These boys have come a long way to get here,” veteran Anacoco head coach Randy Carlisle said following the Indians’ quarterfinal win Thursday night over the seventh-seeded Choudrant Aggies, 54-32. “It’s been a rocky road at times and they’ve had to grow up fast. But I’m excited for these boys.”
The Indians (31-10) advanced to the Class B semifinals, where they will play against the third-seeded Zwolle Hawks, who dismantled the Fairview Panthers on Thursday night. The two teams will play for a third time this season sometime next week at Burton Coliseum in Lake Charles.
The Aggies closed out their season with a mark of 19-12.
Anacoco scored the initial four points of the contest, but watched Choudrant trim the gap to one, 6-5, on a fadeaway jumper from Chris Williams and an open three-pointer by Parker Batterton.
But Brayden Prichard hit a shot at the buzzer after chasing down an offensive rebound to push the Indian advantage to 8-5.
The Indians scored the first 13 points of the second quarter, nine of which came on a trifecta of three-pointers from guard Chase Taylor, pushing the Anacoco lead to 21-5 before Williams buried a shot from beyond the arc to stop the bleeding.
However, Anacoco responded with eight straight points, which included three-pointers from Landin Draughn and Kaleb Goodwin, giving the Indians a 29-8 cushion at the halftime intermission.
“We knew coming in that it would be low-scoring,” Choudrant head coach and Anacoco graduate Ryan Smith said. “But the second quarter just got away from us. Taylor hit some big threes for them and we just couldn’t score. Give Anacoco credit, they defended us well.”
The second half proved to be much of the same story as Anacoco continued to pull away from the Aggies. Dustin Welch, who was held scoreless in the first half, came to life offensively, as did 6-8 post Emanuel Luzardo.
By the end of the third quarter, Anacoco had opened up a 38-14 lead and was well on its way to victory. Choudrant, behind Jackson Case and Williams, managed to outscore the Indians over the final eight minutes, but it was too late as Anacoco punched its ticket to Burton Coliseum.
Carlisle noted that this group of Indians didn’t see much varsity time a season ago, spending most of it playing junior varsity basketball.
“We had little to no varsity experience coming back as we graduated our top eight players from last year’s team,” Carlisle said. “But from where we were to where we are now, it’s been a great season. We weren’t very strong mentally to start, but we’ve had to grow up fast and they have. But I’m truly excited for these boys.”
Carlisle praised the overall effort in the victory, but did laud how well the defense played against a very good shooting team from Choudrant.
“We knew we had to play defense on their shooters,” Carlisle said. “I thought we played very smart basketball on both sides of the ball, but especially defensively.”
Taylor led the Indians with 13 points, while Luzardo, who threw down a pair of monster two-handed jams in the second half, finished with 12 points. Prichard added 11 points.
Williams paced the Aggies with 13 points, while Jackson Case finished with 10 points. Batterton chipped in with nine points.