Carencro outlasts Comeaux _lowres

Advocate Photo by Brad Kemp Carencro defensive player Bryson Fontenot (40 strips the ball away from Comeaux player Michael Smith (10) during their game Sunday Dec. 27, 2015 during the 2015 Sunkist Shootout Boys High School Basketball tournament at St. Thomas More in Lafayette, La..

LAFAYETTE — Carencro’s boys basketball team survived a physical contest against cross-town rival Comeaux in which both teams struggled in a 40-38 victory Sunday against the Spartans in the quarterfinals of the Sunkist Shootout hosted by St. Thomas More.

The game was tied at 36 and 38 before a pair of free throws in the final minute put the Bears ahead by two points with 17 seconds remaining.

Comeaux’s Jaelon Lagard put up a potential game-winning 3-point shot at the buzzer, but it fell short and the Bears extended their winning streak to five games.

The contest, defined by nearly quarter-long scoring droughts by both teams and physical play— there were five players with at least four fouls — wasn’t exactly what Carencro coach Chris Kovatch was expecting, but he welcomed the win despite the flaws his team showed.

“We did enough to win,” Kovatch said. “It can’t always be pretty, but we’ll take it.”

The Bears (13-3) struggled offensively in the second half when they made just four field goals in and shot less than 20 percent from the field as they watched as the nine-point lead built at halftime slowly dwindle to nothing.

Carencro opened the half with five different players taking shots from behind the 3-point line, with all of them missing. The Bears finally got on the board again almost five minutes into the third quarter.

But they only came away with four points for the entire period, while Comeaux (10-5) went on a 6-0 run in the final minute that cut Carencro’s lead to 30-27 going into the fourth quarter.

“We almost shot ourselves out of the game,” Kovatch said. “We traditionally shoot the ball pretty well. The 3-point shot was there, but our kids didn’t understand at that moment that there were more shots there besides the 3. It hurt us.”

The Spartans faced similar struggles on offense throughout the game, and although they finally tied the contest at 34 apiece with 3:10 remaining in the contest, they could never quite regain a lead.

Carencro senior Araden Adams was the game’s offensive leader with 16 points, including two put-back dunks and a big 3-pointer in the second quarter that lifted his team to a substantial lead.

Michael Smith led Comeaux with 14 points, thanks in large part to a 7-for-8 performance at the free-throw line.

The Spartans move onto the tournament’s semifinals, to face either Lafayette Christian or St. Augustine, while Comeaux drops to the fifth-place bracket, where it will play the loser of the same game.

Tournament host St. Thomas More’s trip to the semifinals wasn’t nearly as cumbersome, as the Cougars (12-3) rolled past Slidell (12-3) for a 61-39 victory.

The Cougars will take on North Caddo on Monday at 6:30 p.m.

Earlier in the day, Acadiana earned a convincing 84-53 victory over Ascension Episcopal for a spot in the consolation bracket semifinals against Episcopal of Acadiana, which came back to defeat Catholic-New Iberia 45-43.