A team that isn’t supposed to be where it is has moved on further than expected after North Caddo slipped past scrappy Doyle 55-48 on Tuesday night in the LHSAA Class 2A state playoffs.
Thanks to a dozen swats by 6-foot-6 Robert Williams and a timely 3-pointer by Jontavoen Brooks, the 28th seeded Rebels moved into the 2A quarterfinals.They’ll play the winner of today’s Rapides-St. Thomas Aquinas contest in the next round with a trip to the state championship in Lake Charles on the line.
“Great players make great plays and that’s what we did tonight,” said Brooks, who dropped in a 3-pointer from the right side of the key with 52 seconds remaining after the Tigers had pulled within a bucket. “I want to thank my teammates for putting me in this position. People been calling us a sleeper.”
The 12th seeded Rebels (11-18) appeared poised to run away with the game in the first half after building a 25-9 advantage late in the second quarter.
“We were intimidated by their length and size,” Doyle coach Daniel Kennedy said. “We had an uncharacteristic number of turnovers in the first half, but in the second half we pressed and got into our tempo. Our defensive pressure got us back into the game.”
The third quarter was forgettable with the Rebels and Tigers (23-8) committing eight and nine turnovers respectively, and the visitors won the frame 13-8.
“It was ugly, but what a game,” proclaimed North Caddo coach Ron Meikle. “It’s hard for us to play a smaller team and we had to scramble against their two-three zone. We didn’t sustain our effort tonight, but we fought through it and got a win.”
Doyle’s only lead came at 3-2 three minutes into the low-scoring contest. But the Tigers pecked away at their 28-15 halftime deficit and pulled within 40-38 on three free throws by Cody Kleinpeter with 6 minutes remaining in the contest.
Things got ugly a couple minutes later when a Doyle player committed a hard foul on Brooks at midcourt and a mini scuffle broke out. The Rebels’ Justin Homer was hit with a technical. Brooks made one of his freebies, while Tyler Dawsey converted one of the two technical shots.
The contentiousness ended after that, but the Tigers were within 50-48 with less than two minutes remaining when Brooks hit his big shot. The NC defensive award would have to go to Williams, who knocked away three Doyle shots on one trip down the court early in the second half.
“It was fun,” Williams said. “This is the first time in North Caddo history for this.”
Brooks led all scorers with 22 points, while adding four assists, and Williams dropped in 13. Kleinpeter and Kyle Lewis topped Doyle with 16 apiece.