METAIRIE — Archbishop Rummel curtailed the shooting exploits of Hayward Register, one of the state’s top scorers, for the first three quarters of Tuesday night’s Class 5A boys basketball quarterfinal playoff game against third-seeded Comeaux.
Then in the fourth, the 22nd-seeded Raiders’ lost track of Register and with it, their opportunity to continue a magical trip through the playoffs.
Register scored nine of his game-high 29 points in the fourth quarter, outscoring Rummel by himself and another six points in overtime, more than enough to rally for a 55-46 victory at Rummel.
After three consecutive trips to the quarterfinals, Comeaux is in the semifinals for the first time.
“My team knew to give me the ball, because I had to put them on my back,” Register said.
Rummel knew that, too. But unlike the first three quarters, where the Raiders (23-12) minimized Register’s efforts, he blossomed in the final eight minutes and then, in overtime, ending Rummel’s season. The Raiders struggled to stop him when Comeaux ran several set plays late to get the ball in his hands, then in the basket.
“We lost track of one of the best shooters in the state on a few occasions, and he stepped up and made some big shots,” Rummel coach Troy Holley said.
Still, Holley was proud of Rummel’s efforts this season. Most of his players did not reach the basketball court until late December, if not the first of the year after winning a state football championship.
“The guys fought, fought, fought all year just to get in shape,” Holley said. “These guys have a lot to be proud of. Three 20-win seasons in consecutive years. Two playoff wins for the first time in 17 years.”
Rummel had its opportunities. The Raiders led 34-23 with 2:35 left in the third quarter, thanks to Dwayne Eugene’s layup off a fastbreak.
Then Comeaux switched to a full-court press late, inviting Rummel’s guards to penetrate to the rim, where center Omosa Ogunsuyi (17 points) awaited, either blocking their shots or redirecting them. Both outcomes led to Rummel scoring just seven points in the fourth quarter, and two points in overtime. Eugene and Henre’ Tolliver led Rummel with 10 points apiece.
“At the end, we made a few bad plays, missed a few layups,” Eugene said. “It was a tough loss.”
His exploits included a 3-pointer with 1:12 left in regulation which tied the game at 41-41. After Steven Dunbar made one of two free throws for Rummel, Register made a reverse layup to give Comeaux (30-4) a two-point lead.
Rummel’s Cethan Carter scored in the post with 18.2 seconds left to send the game to overtime. But once there, Register continued his work. He started with another 3-pointer on Comeaux’s first possession. Comeaux converted five free throws during a critical, two-minute scoreless streak for Rummel.