LAFAYETTE — Against Brother Martin in the quarterfinals of the Sunkist Shootout, Carencro shot 41 percent from the field in the first half and trailed 32-21 at halftime, but things got worse for the Bears instead of better as they lost 67-32 on Saturday at St. Thomas More.
Brother Martin coach Chris Biehl said his team turned the ball over too many times (16) but said his team’s style wears opponents down, which he said played a big role in Carencro’s shooting 27 percent from the field in the second half.
“We feel like with the pressure we put on teams, they wear down,” Biehl said. “We’re still turning the ball over too much, but our philosophy is to outwork teams and wear them down, and I think that’s what happened in this one.”
The Crusaders shot 54 percent from the field, led by Venjie Wallis’ 23 points. Carencro coach Chris Kovatch said the Bears “fell apart at the seams” in Brother Martin’s rout.
“The second (half), we start to play individually, we unravel,” Kovatch said. “It is my job as the head coach to get us back to where we are playing for the name on the front of our chests and not the name our mama gave us.”
In the second quarter, Brother Martin did just what Biehl said and one possession especially typified it. Four Crusaders — Venjie Wallis, Bruce Jordan-Swilling, Luke Walker and Vejon Wallis — combined for eight offensive rebounds in one possession that ended with a Walker layup. Walker finished with 17 points and three rebounds.
“Some nights, Venjie Wallis is our best player,” Biehl said. “Some nights it’s Luke Walker. Bruce has really shown up big, and he’s just a kid who the coaches pull for. He’s one of the best players on the football team, and one of the best players in the state, then he comes to basketball and you see what he does.
“We have four boys who are just workhorses. We’re not 6-5, 6-6. We make up for that with a lot of effort and positioning.”
Jacob Siner and Araden Adams led the Bears with 10 points apiece. Kovatch, who spent an hour with his players in the locker room after the game, said they have a lot of work to do before they are where they need to be.
“We have to put away egos,” Kovatch said. “In times of adversity, character is going to get revealed. We just did not respond well to that adversity today. It’s going to give us an opportunity to grow and get better.”
Biehl said he is not a coach who looks ahead, but said the reason he brought his team to the Sunkist Shootout was to take part in competitive games.
“The only better competition we’ll be able to face will be in the state playoffs,” Biehl said. “We came to this tournament, because in my opinion, it’s the best tournament in the state of Louisiana. We’re going to come out (Sunday) and play our best basketball.”