By T. Scott Boatright
Choudrant High School trailed Forest 1-0 only 37 seconds into Friday’s home District 2-B basketball game at the CHS Gym.
But after taking a 2-1 lead on a Parker Batterton jumper 25 seconds later, the Aggies never trailed again.
Choudrant stormed out of the gates and built an early double-digit advantage Friday night as the Aggies rode to a 77-45 win over the Bulldogs to close out their district regular season at 5-1.
The Aggies pushed their lead to double digits at the 3:43 mark of the opening stanza as Mike Jones scored his third consecutive basket (with an added free throw after the second) that put Choudrant on top 14-3.
Choudrant increased its advantage to 23-9 by the end of the first quarter before putting the Bulldogs away early, going into the locker room at halftime holding a 46-23 lead.
The Aggies outscored the Bulldogs 23-9 in the third quarter, and Batterton’s 3-pointer with 7:39 remaining pushed their lead to more than 35 points at 72-34 to start a running clock (based on Louisiana High School Athletic Association rules) that made quick work of the fourth quarter.
Batterton nailed six 3-pointers in the contest and led the Aggies with 27 points while Jones added 25 points for the Aggies, mostly on offensive putbacks,
Lachlan Thompson, who was honored on senior night along with Batterton, added 13 points for Choudrant.
“Senior night is always fun and it was a really cool environment tonight,” said CHS coach Ryan Smith. “Parker and Lachlan — the impact they’ve had goes beyond just one season, beyond just their senior season. These two guys have truly impacted our program — impacted how our younger guys look at the game, how they look at practice and how they play as they continue working on their skills.
“Those two seniors are great ambassadors for the program, that’s for sure.”
Thompson and Jones spent much of the fourth quarter on the bench as Smith emptied his bench, making sure that every CHS player who dressed got time on the court.
“It doesn’t always work out that way, so that was great to see happen,” Smith said. “In the first half we tried to work on some rotations to see if we can maybe get Jacob Cowling off the bench or how we can get Tucker (Batterton) back in the game or how we can work Logan Batterton and Braden Soto in there.
“We’ve got a tough week next week with Caldwell, Ruston, and then Simsboro in a game we’ll play at 4 p.m. next Saturday at West Ouachita. So we tried to work on our rotations for next week and get ready for the playoffs, and all of those guys came in and played great. It’s fun to be able to get those guys into a game, where there is some pressure. That helps them get ready in case you need them, which is a pretty cool thing for a coach.”
Smith hopes those two games against bigger schools next week will help prepare his team for the showdown against Simsboro as the Aggies prepare to head into the playoffs.
“Caldwell is a very good, very athletic zone-trapping team— they’re really good,” Smith said. “And then all of us around here know what Ruston High has. Just challenging ourselves all the way to the end of the regular season I think is going to help not only prepare strategies, but it will help build a mindset that we can’t go into the playoff soft.
“We want to be playoff tough as that time rolls around and finishing that season with the gauntlet of those three teams I think will really help us once the playoffs begin. I’m super excited about it. Hopefully that will prepare us for what we hope will be two home (playoff) games, so I think it’s a really good thing.”
Choudrant, 26-7 overall, will next play host to Caldwell on Tuesday.
Lady Aggies 41, Lady Bulldogs 26
The Choudrant girls team pulled away late in the third quarter to close out their season in winning fashion with a win over Forest Friday night at the CHS Gym,
After leading 21-12 at halftime, the Lady Aggies outscored Forest 11-5 in the third to build a 32-17 advantage heading into the final eight minutes of play.
Forest cut the CHS led to 10 points at 25-15 midway through the third quarter, but the Lady Aggies picked up the pace from there, including Heather Murphey’s 3-pointer (her third trey of the contest) with 1:13 left in the period.
Choudrant built as much as a 19-point advantage twice in the final stanza — senior Mattie Johnson’s 3-pointer with 6:21 left on the clock put the Lady Aggies up 36-17 while a pair of free throws from Kadence Nugent put CHS on top 40-21 with 4:08 left on the clock.
Murphey led the Lady Aggies with 14 points while Johnson added 12. Both were honored on Senior Night during a pregame ceremony.