When Blake Paul scored the game’s first four points, St. Thomas More might have thought the 6-foot-9 big man would be their biggest problem.
But instead of pounding the Cougars (12-4) down low, Landry-Walker caught fire from the perimeter, dropping in 11 3-pointers as it ran away with a 69-46 victory in the first round of the Allstate Sugar Bowl National Prep Classic on Wednesday night.
“It’s the nature of our offense,” said Landry-Walker coach Brian Gibson. “We have a decent inside game, so it forces teams to want to protect the middle, and we’re shooting a lot of wide open shots.”
The Chargin’ Bucs (11-7) utilized their balanced inside-outside attack to jump out to a 12-1 lead and extended it to 18-5 by the end of the quarter. Forwards Blake Paul and Keytaon Thompson combined for six points in the lane and guard Lamar Peters made three 3-pointers.
Thompson and Paul combined for 19 points, 12 rebounds and five blocks in the game, while Peters tied for the team-high with 14 points, including three 3-pointers.
“I feel like we’re finally at full strength,” Gibson said. “I think when we’re at full strength. We’re going to be a tough out. … I think our kids are now concentrating on just running the floor, and we’re shooting the ball well, as well.”
Landry-Walker continued their hot shooting in the second quarter, except it was guard Khalil Williams who got hot from beyond the 3-point line. The sophomore sharpshooter hit four consecutive 3-pointers at one point, as the team poured in six for the quarter.
The Chargin’ Bucs extended their lead to 40-17 when Kevin Rapp drained the Chargin’ Bucs eighth 3-pointer of the half as the halftime buzzer sounded.
Williams scored 14 points — all in the first half — on 5-of-11 shooting from the field.
“It’s good for us to start the tournament off this way,” Williams said. “Lamar came through for us in the first quarter, and the whole team was really just playing well. I think the defense is what really got us going. Once we started playing defense, it just got us all easy shots.”
Paul began the third quarter the same way he began the first, scoring the first four points of the quarter, as the Chargin’ Bucs continued to extend their lead. The Cougars got as close as 44-23, but Landry-Walker ended the period on a 10-0 run to take a 54-23 lead into the fourth quarter.
“They were so focused on us penetrating that whenever we kicked it out all the guy had to do was just shoot it,” said Williams, who was one of six Chargin’ Bucs to make a 3-pointer.
Devanté Benjamin and Peter Kishbaugh paced the Cougars with 12 and nine points.
Landry-Walker will advance to play the winner of Salmen-Edna Karr in the second round at 4:30 p.m. Thursday.