The championship tilt of the 2017 Bossier Invitational offered a classic finish that may make the second meeting of the season between Bossier and Fair Park one of the most memorable in the event’s history.
The Indians’ D’iranique Holmes was in the right place at the right time to lift his team to a 38-36 victory in front of a packed house in the Bossier gym. Standing just to the left of the bucket as Jeremy Johnson’s shot on a dribble-drive slipped off the side, Holmes put the miss back in a frog’s hair before the final buzzer.
“I saw my teammate, Jeremy, miss so I knew I had to do something,” Holmes said.
The putback set off a wild celebration by coach Eddie Hamilton Jr.’s club after knocking off the defending LHSAA Class 4A state champs, currently No. 1 in the LHSAA power ratings.
“It was a chess match out there, and we have so much respect for each other,” Hamilton said. “Coach (Jeremiah) Williams and I are like brothers. We are trying to be what they are.”
The game started and ended weird from an offensive standpoint for the normally prolific Bearkats (15-4). Bossier didn’t convert its first field goal, a runner in the lane by Tybrien Wimberly, until two minutes had passed in the second quarter.
Then in the fourth and decisive frame, the Bearkats cashed in just once on a runner by Kaalas Roots. In between, Bossier built as much as a 14-point lead in the second quarter when it appeared it would run away with the contest.
“I have to give Fair Park credit, because they did a good job against us. And 38 points ought to be enough,” Williams said. “But our last two games have probably been our worst shooting games in a long time. We needed to make plays and make shots.”
Bossier knocked off Ruston and Fair Park blasted Huntington in semifinal contests earlier in the day. Maybe it was the wear and tear of playing two spirited contests in one day that helped keep the scoring down. Points outside the paint were at a premium for both clubs.
Bossier scored just four points, all on free throws, in the first quarter, but Wimberly got things running with an individual 6-0 run to give his team its first lead at 11-10 midway through the second quarter. The Indians converted just three field goals in the second quarter while Bossier closed the frame with an 11-0 run to go in front 24-14 at the break.
The Bearkats started the second half on an 8-2 run and when Tyrese English scored on a layup with three minutes to play in the third quarter, Bossier led 30-16. But 3-pointers by Holmes and Emerson Taylor to open the fourth ignited the Indians to a 12-0 run that allowed them to tie the game at 34 with 3 minutes to play.
Both teams had a chance to win in the final minute, but Fair Park got control with about 30 seconds remaining and ran the clock down for one final shot and Holmes’ heroics.
“I thought we might give in at the end, but we had big hearts out there,” Hamilton said. “They are the state champions.”