SCOTT — Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good.
Carencro senior Jacob Siner banked in a long contested 3-pointer as the buzzer sounded at the end of the third quarter to bring the Bears within five points of the lead, the closest they had been all night.
The shot ignited a fourth-quarter comeback that saw Siner and the Bears (10-8) overcome a 10-point first-half deficit to leave with a 59-53 victory over crosstown rival Acadiana (10-7).
“We felt like we didn’t come to play in the first half. I mean, I think we had eight or nine turnovers in the first quarter alone,” Carencro coach Christopher Kovatch said. “We challenged the guys to respond and just do what we were supposed to do.
“A couple of those guys really responded to the challenge.”
Siner took the challenge to heart, scoring 14 of his 21 points in the second half, including two buzzer-beating 3-pointers.
Acadiana coach Dwayne Searle said he was happy with the Rams defense on Siner, but the senior made tough shots to trigger the comeback.
The Bears sealed the comeback with clutch free-throw shooting in the closing minutes, including underclassman Braylon Chaisson and Travis Zeno going 4-for-4 at the free-throw line.
“(The free throws) were huge. It has been an issue for us over the course of this year. We call it bugaboo,” Kovatch said. “We actually had a couple changes in practice this past week and it was good to see that come through and them step through in a that moment.”
Kovatch said the coaching staff made several adjustments at halftime to combat the Rams’ aggressive defense, helping the Bears get to the basket for easy buckets in the second half.
“We felt like they really had their hands over us, in some games it gets called and some games it doesn’t, and there is nothing wrong with it, we just didn’t respond well to it initially,” Kovatch said.
The Rams started fast, racing to a 20-11 lead in the first half behind Bry’Kiethon Mouton. Mouton finished the first quarter with six points, two assists and two steals, getting out in transition to create easy points for the Rams.
Mouton finished with 15 points and five assists.
Kovatch said the Bears were too aggressive on their on-the-ball defense of Mouton and compounded those mistakes with bad help defense on the back end.
The Rams size inside led to problems for the Bears, who gave up several second-chance points in the first half.
“I mean Acadiana is big, and they brought us to the boards with their size and it caused some problems for us,” Kovatch said.
But Acadiana starting center Myles Hutchinson went down in the first quarter with a sprained ankle and did not return.
Searle said his absence hurt the Rams inside presence and forced them into a more up-tempo offense.
“We got up-tempo with them and they forced some turnovers and did a good job of making some plays and hitting some tough shots,” Searle said. “They outplayed us in the fourth quarter.
“Unfortunately, I thought we played well for the first three quarters. We just didn’t finish it off.”
The up-tempo style played right into the Bears hands, allowing their athletic guards to get out in transition and score.
Siner and fellow guard Araden Adams scored 42 of Carencro’s 59 points.
“It was big, because we really needed them. One of the things we told them at halftime was that Adams, Siner and (Dandre) Dudley their our guys,” Kovatch said.
“It was good to see them step up and rise to occasion and play like they are capable of playing.”