By PRESTON EDWARDS, Journal Sports
Since Coach Corey Deans has been at the helm of the Captain Shreve boys basketball team, he had yet to defeat Natchitoches Central.
He had the excruciating loss at the buzzer to the Chiefs in the quarterfinals last year and three other losses to the Chiefs by a grand total of 10 points. Adding the near misses by Deans and his Gators to the other games the two schools have played, Shreve had not beaten Natchitoches Central in the last 10-plus years.
That is a long, long time.
So going into their matchup Tuesday night, not only was first place in District 1-5A on the line, but a host of other firsts were within reach of this Gator squad.
Deans did not feel any extra pressure, however. As a matter of fact, he was quite calm about it.
“If we clean up our mistakes from the first time, we should win.” stated Dean before the contest.
It took an extra session of basketball but the Gators managed to clean up enough mistakes from their 3-point loss in Natchitoches. When the horn after the first OT sounded, Deans and his troops claimed a 46-41 victory over Natchitoches Central giving the Gators their first outright district championship since 2013.
“I am just happy for my boys,” Deans said. “The boys worked too hard and they deserved it.”
Kyron Reed was the story for the Gators on this night. He handled the Chiefs’ pressure the majority of the night and scored a game-high 18 points, which included five triples.
“I believe in Kyron Reed,” stated Deans. “He had the same shots at Natchitoches Central but missed them. He was on tonight. He has the ultra green light. Whatever shot he takes, I’m good with it.”
His backcourt mate, Christan Ford, was not too bad, either, as he scored 12 points and made some crucial free throws at the end of regulation and during overtime.
The Gator defense was the story of the night. They held the Chiefs to 41 points in 40 minutes.
NCHS did not quit, however. The Chiefs had 22 points through three quarters but scored 19 in the fourth quarter and overtime. All-State football safety Justin Aaron made a clutch three to send the game to overtime and Dalyn Davis scored six of his 12 points in the fourth to give the Chiefs a chance to win. It just was not their night.
With the victory, Captain Shreve moves to 24-5 on the season. Natchitoches Central drops only its sixth game of the season. The Chiefs have 21 victories on the year.
Both teams wrap up district play on Friday. After that, they will anxiously await the final power ratings next week to see who will be their opening postseason opponent.
Photo by PRESTON EDWARDS