The Country Day Cajuns went through a little bit of everything Friday night at their own tournament.
They had a lead at the end of the first quarter against Catholic High of Baton Rouge. They trailed at halftime. And were tied at the end of three.
But in the end Ross Talbot, put them in a position to do something no Country Day team has ever done: win their own tournament.
Talbot sank a hook shot on a second-chance opportunity with 2.1 seconds remaining to help Country Day defeat the Bears 46-44 and advance to the championship game of the Country Day Classic.
They will face the winner between Scotlandville and Riverside.
Since the tournament's inception in 2000, the Cajuns have never won their own tournament, but they're feeling confident about their chances this year.
“It feels great,” Talbot said. “Coach Mike (McGuire) told us before this tournament that we haven’t won it yet in the 17 years it’s been around, so I’m excited. We went through a little bit of a rough patch in the beginning of the season but we’re really starting to jell as a team, so I’m feeling good.”
Friday night's game featured multiple lead changes, and no team led by more than five points — but with the help of Kaleb Jenkins' 13 second-half points and Talbot’s 10, including the game-winner, the Cajuns came out on top.
“Our guys never give up,” McGuire said. “I’m very proud of our defense. They were outstanding and (Catholic is) a very quality club. They hit a bunch of big shots and all of their free throws. We needed to get some steals and a few possessions down the stretch. We were able to do that. We got some big stops and some big baskets particularly near the end so I’m very proud of our guys.”
For the Bears, the result was a disappointment after they had reached the semifinals and come close to victory in this one.
“All during the game I felt like we were playing well enough to win,” coach Mark Cascio said.
“There were certain plays where we were so close to taking control, but it’s a credit to Country Day that they just wouldn’t let us. I feel like we put ourselves in a position to get the win at the end but at the end of the game they made the play and put it in.”
The game started well for the Cajuns as they held a four-point lead after the first quarter, but Hunter Williams' back-to-back 3s in the second quarter gave Catholic.
The Bears were ahead at halftime 23-18.
The Cajuns refused to give up. Justin Ibieta’s hook shot tying the game just before the end of the third quarter.
The teams battled throughout the fourth quarter, and the score was tied before Talbot’s game winner sealed it for the Cajuns.