Plaquemine Green Devils’ season came to a halt last Friday in the team’s third straight trip to the Quarterfinal round of the LHSAA 4A playoffs.
PHS had just come off a resounding 74-49 Regional round victory over No. 11 LaGrange last week and hit the road to take on No. 3 Westgate on March 3 but their season came ended after a 81-90 loss.
Plaquemine took the lead after the first quarter, 19-18, but allowed Westgate to pull ahead at the half after putting up 15 points in the second quarter to Westgate’s 22.
PHS kept pace with Westgate in the second half after putting up 21 points in the third and 26 in the fourth, but the defense could not keep Westgate from putting up points.
The team faced early foul trouble and were forced to sit a few starters earlier than scheduled. Standout shooter Darius Jackson fouled out early in the fourth quarter, which dashed the team’s chances at closing in on Westgate’s lead.
“It was a physical game, a great game,” head coach Donald Johnson said. “I probably wouldn’t do anything different preparation wise.”
Keandre Randall was, appropriately enough, the team’s scoring leader in the final game of his career with 23 points scored. Randall has consistently been the lead scorer and Donald Johnson said it will be tough to find his replacement.
Herb Thomas followed with 17 points, A.J. Riley with 15, Trajan Butler with 12 and Darius Jackson and Wayne Toussant each with seven.
Butler was the lead rebounder with 13, Riley followed with six, Toussant with five and Jackson and Randall each with four.
The Devils sported six seniors on their 2016-17 roster, but only two (Randall and Butler) were starters which is a good sign for the team’s future.
“We definitely have a good group coming back,” Johnson said. “I don’t really have anybody that can replace Keandre. We relied a lot on his scoring, but we’ll be back.”
The Devils ended their season with an overall 27-9 record and were 9-1 in district play. PHS earned the 6-4A District title for the fourth straight season and have their eyes on a fifth.
“We lost some games that we should have won,” Johnson said. “We accomplished all of the goals we set out to do except win a state championship. As a whole we did a good job of winning and getting better.” Plaquemine’s last semi-final appearance was 2009.
“We’ve just got to keep working. We’ve got to get guys more mentally ready for these tough games.”
The road to a fifth straight 6-4A title will have a much different look than past seasons. With a changing of districts, Plaquemine will lose rivals Belaire and Livonia and will find new district opponents in Lutcher, Lee High and Parkview.