YOUNGSVILLE — Ascension Episcopal coach Eric Mouton said he wasn’t too content with his team’s effort in the first half against Centerville on Monday.
The Blue Gators found themselves tied 19-19 at halfime and saw potential for Centerville’s Marvin Strawder, who scored 12 of his game-high 19 points in the first half, to hurt them if they didn’t correct it.
“(Strawder) looked like he was trying to take over, and so we changed defenses,” Mouton said. “We went to a diamond-and-one to take him out of the game, then jumped back into a zone. It threw them off and took them awhile to adjust to it. They had to shoot over us, and we rebounded when they missed.”
The AES second-half defensive effort showed in the fourth quarter, forcing six turnovers with four blocked shots as they outscored Centerville 21-8 in the final quarter. Clutch free throws down the stretch allowed the Blue Gators to ease into the 46-32 district win.
“We had a much better effort in the second half, and we rebounded better,” Mouton said. “(Centerville) was short-handed with a couple guys hurt, but they came out and played hard and competed. Toward the end, we got stops and took care of the basketball, got good looks, and hit our free throws. That’ll normally get it done for you.”
Mouton said the Centerville defense did a good job on AES’ Ronald LeBlanc, who finished with 12 points, but Mouton said the Bulldogs were good at taking away LeBlanc’s spots.
“They were real physical with Ronald and didn’t let him get to his spots,” Mouton said. “There’s a couple spots where he is really good at scoring from. They did a good job of getting him off those spots. He was a little better tonight (than the first game). He got to his spots a couple times and scored a few early on.”
The Gators were without Jake Arceneaux on Monday and Mouton, said he had some players step up on free throws, including an 8-for-8 effort from Jake Voscoy. Mouton said he appreciated the defensive effort of players who don’t normally play as big a role.
“We were missing Jake, and we had some guys step up big,” he said. “We had guys come in and play tough minutes when we needed. That is what wins district basketball games is those tough minutes, especially on the defensive end.”