LAFAYETTE — Acadiana coach Dwayne Searle said he normally expects a lethargic start in the Sunkist Shootout at St. Thomas More, but he said the Wreckin’ Rams came out with good intensity in their game against Ellender on Friday.

“We haven’t always come out in the first game of the Sunkist ready to play,” Searle said after his team lost 41-38. “The effort was good against an excellent Ellender team. We just didn’t finish shots.”

The Rams led 20-18 at halftime, but a plethora of missed layups allowed the Patriots to take a 30-27 lead after the third quarter. The teams traded the lead in the fourth quarter and it was tied at 38 with 54.8 seconds left.

Ellender’s Curtis Anderson drained the game-winning 3-pointer with 30 seconds left. After a lane violation gave the Rams the ball with 16 seconds to go, Searle said the Patriots’ zone pressure forced the Rams into a turnover, allowing Ellender to run out the clock and get the win.

“We got in position to get ourselves easy buckets like we talk about all the time,” Searle said. “We weren’t settling for outside shots. We were getting to the hole. They put great pressure on us, but if you’re able to get by that pressure, you can get some great looks.

“At times the pressure hurt us and we turned the ball over, but sometimes, we got some freebies. Those are the ones you have to capitalize on to get them out of that. We didn’t capitalize enough to get them out of that.”

Searle said he recognized the zone trap on the final possession and should have called a timeout before Ellender forced the Rams into a turnover.

“They went to a zone trap and we were set up for man,” Searle said. “I probably should have called a timeout. We thought we could break the pressure and shoot a 3 to tie. The pressure got us, and we didn’t get the spacing, but that wasn’t on the kids. I should have called a timeout.”

Searle said he still working the football players — like Bry’Kiethon Mouton — into the team’s chemistry. Mouton finished with 14 points, but Searle said his passes really set up the Rams for easy buckets.

“He can score, but he is not selfish,” Searle said. “We have different guys that do different things. I feel like everybody did their role today. (Mouton) made some nice passes, we just have to finish.”