DUTCHTOWN —Eight minutes nearly turned into an eternity for the Dutchtown boys basketball team when it played the fourth quarter against St. Amant on Tuesday night.
Holding a four-point lead, the Griffins committed half of their 20 turnovers in the quarter but never relinquished the lead to hold on for a 49-43 win.
The win assured Dutchtown (20-5, 5-1) would at least hang on to a share of first place in District 5-5A, a position it held jointly with East Ascension before the contest.
“It looked like the quarter would never end, but I knew we’d keep playing defense,” Dutchtown coach Patrick Hill said. “We’ve got to work on (turnovers).”
Patrick Thompson, Jr., came off the bench to lead Dutchtown with 15 points, and Tevin Thompson added 12.
St. Amant (18-9, 3-3) was led by Brandon Guillory’s 12 points. Donald LeBlanc finished with eight points for the Gators.
“Your best players have to play well in big games, and we didn’t play well tonight,” St. Amant coach Gary Duhe said.
St. Amant trailed 38-32 early in the fourth quarter when Dutchtown turned the ball over on three consecutive possessions. The Gators got an inside basket from Guillory to get within 38-34, but couldn’t take advantage of the other two possessions.
Trailing 42-34, LeBlanc stole the ball back after a Dutchtown defensive rebound. LeBlanc fed Dequincy Deverteuil in the lane, who was fouled and made one of two free throws.
Dutchtown turned the ball over on its next four trips down court, but St. Amant missed seven field goal attempts. The Gators only points during the stretch was another Deverteuil free throw.
St. Amant continued to battle back, and cut the Dutchtown lead to 47-43 with 41 seconds left on Mason Clouatre’s follow shot.
Patrick Thompson then missed the front end of a one-and-one, but the Gators missed four shots in the closing seconds.
Leonard Scott’s layup with five seconds left provided the final margin for Dutchtown.
“It wasn’t the turnovers,” Duhe said. “We didn’t make layups. We didn’t finish. (Dutchtown) outplayed us, and they deserved to win.”
In the fourth quarter, St. Amant made just 4 of 23 from the field, and finished 16 of 59. The Gators were 2 of 15 from 3-point range, but committed just six turnovers.
Dutchtown made 6 of 11 field goal attempts in the fourth, and was 19 of 42 for the game.
The contest proved to be far different from the teams’ first meeting on Jan. 11, an 89-80 Dutchtown win in overtime.
“I knew (coach Duhe) would tell his guys it wouldn’t be 42-41 at halftime,” Hill said. “I knew both teams were going to go out and play better defense. “That first game was almost a fluke the way both teams were just scoring, scoring and scoring.”
The game opened on even terms with five ties and two lead changes in the first quarter. St. Amant held the lead four times including 12-11 with two minutes left in the quarter.
Jhory Miller and Austin Sampson each had inside baskets giving Dutchtown a 15-12 lead after one quarter.
Clouatre scored off an assist from LeBlanc, and Dominique Wilmore scored on a putback basket giving St. Amant its last lead of the game at 16-15.
The Griffins converted their final three shots of the quarter to take a 23-18 halftime lead. Dutchtown had eight first half turnovers.
“Right now, turnovers are our biggest adversary in the fourth quarter,” Hill said. “That’s a part of the game where we’re making too many turnovers.”