No. 1 CCHS takes down No. 10 Country Day
By: GEOFFREY STOUTE
Central Catholic coach Ree Case knew his squad needed to play well defensively against Country Day’s 6-foot, 8-inch trio of Scott Plaisance and Travis Avery to win Saturday’s non-district basketball matchup.
What he didn’t know was that the defensive effort would keep Avery, Country Day’s leading scorer, as the lone double-digit scorer for Country Day, while Plaisance, who was plagued by foul trouble, would be limited to three points in Central Catholic’s 44-39 home victory.
Central Catholic, Class 1A’s top-ranked team, led the entire time, building as much as a 13-point lead, 39-26, with less than 4½ minutes left in the game against Class 1A’s 10th ranked squad, Country Day.
The key for the Eagles was denying inside passes to Avery or forcing turnovers when Country Day did try and converting them into easy transition buckets.
When Country Day did get the ball inside, the Eagles’ defense harassed Avery.
“I thought we defended the inside really well,” Case said. “When you got two guys (who are) 6-8 that you’re guarding all night, they’re going to get open sometimes and get some shots. I was just excited the way we defended because we shot 28 percent from the field and won and that doesn’t usually happen unless you play good defense.”
Also, Plaisance, who picked up his fourth foul with more than four minutes remaining in the third quarter, was sidelined for the remainder of the third quarter until he re-entered the game with 6:15 remaining in the fourth.
However, just two minutes later, he fouled out with a blocking foul. He was limited to 3 points the entire game.
With Plaisance relegated to the bench, though, Country Day managed to start hitting its inside shots that it could not get to fall earlier in the game and cut the CCHS lead to 41-37 with 57 seconds remaining on a Kent McGuire three-pointer.
However, CCHS’ Dontrell Brown and Josh Singleton combined to make three of four free throws down the stretch to secure the 41-39 victory.
“I think the rhythm changed,” Country Day coach Mike McGuire said. “I thought our guys played harder in the fourth quarter. We play these guys a lot. They know us. We know them. They (are) well coached. They took away the things we like to do early and then we finally started hitting some shots.”
In the first quarter, CCHS’ Singleton scored 10 of the Eagles’ 12 points as the Eagles jumped out to a 12-5 lead.
Singleton nailed two three-pointers in the quarter, converted two free throws and hit another shot to pace the Eagles. Singleton led the Eagles on the night with 14 points, two blocks, two steals, seven assists and four rebounds.
On the other end, Avery and Plaisance missed shots close to the basket.
CCHS continued to build on its lead in the second quarter, hitting inside shots and limiting Country Day’s inside chances.
The Eagles temporarily lost senior leader Lloyd Grogan with less than four minutes remaining in the second quarter when he was elbowed in the nose.
The Eagles went into halftime with a 23-12 lead, and Grogan returned in the third quarter with eight of the Eagles’ 11 points.
Grogan finished the night with 12 points, one block, three steals, two assists and 14 rebounds.
Other scorers for the Eagles were Brown with eight points, one block, seven steals, three assists and five rebounds and Tyler Hoffpauir with three points, four rebounds, one assist, one steal and one block.
The win was the second in two days for the Eagles, who defeated Ascension Episcopal on Friday on the road, 66-36.
Grogan led the Eagles with 17 points, while Hoffpauir added 10, and Singleton and Brown chipped in eight.
Both the Eagles and Lady Eagles will return to action tonight when they host Gueydan High School. The girls’ game will begin at 5 p.m. and the boys’ game will follow.
The boys’ game will be broadcast live on KBZE 105.9 FM.