Tors end 12-year playoff drought, defense sets up victory

Published 10:00 am Saturday, February 25, 2023

SULPHUR — The last time the Sulphur Tors won a boys basketball playoff game, most of the current roster was barely in kindergarten. But the No. 6 Tors ended their 12-year drought on Friday.

No. 6 Sulphur rolled to a 67-43 win over No. 27 Belle Chasse in the bi-district round of the Division I non-select playoffs.

“Getting the program back to where it is here can’t be done without players like Zavien (Trent), Kohl Navarre and those guys who have been here for four years and have seen it from the foundation,” Sulphur’s Adam Coleman said. “(The seniors) have built our culture and restored that Tor tradition.

“I am still trying to get a grasp of it right now. We have seen it all throughout the year and throughout three years with those guys building our culture. I am proud of those guys, credit to them.”

The Tors’ last postseason win was a 46-33 road win over LaGrange in the first round in 2011.

Sulphur will host No. 11 St. Amant (23-11) in the regional round. The Gators beat No. 22 South Lafourche (13-12) 86-43 on Friday.

The Tors (26-8) used their defense to set up the offense in the first quarter, building up a 22-11 lead. Trent had three steals in the first 8 minutes of the game and scored 10 of his game-high 18 points.

“What I loved about the play in the first half was the energy that we came out with, and this community showed up big tonight,” Coleman said. “Our boys committed at the beginning of the year to play for their community and their school.

“Zavien turned defense into offense early in the game for us. That is what got us going. We hold teams to a very low point total, and that is where we got started tonight.”

The Cardinals cut the Tors’ lead to 11-9 on a 3-pointer by Jay’len Hughes-Ingram with 2:40 left in the first quarter, but the Tors went on an 11-2 run to push their lead back to 17 with 6:03 left in the second quarter. The Tors held the Cardinals to 22.7 percent shooting in the first half and forced 10 turnovers.

“We didn’t let up,” Coleman said. “The second quarter we held them to six points. It all starts on the defensive end for us.”

Sulphur’s Zachary Bates had a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds. Ian Malone finished with 15 points, and Navarre added 10.

“We are a tough team to scout because on any given night we could have five guys in double figures. The offensive system that we have implemented gives guys a lot of freedom to play the game. We as the coaches trust the job that we have done with them.”