Country Day trailed entering the fourth quarter of its big District 10-2A game Tuesday against Newman. However, that’s when the Cajuns guards took over.
Bouyed by the play of point guard Romin Williams, Michael Corchiani and freshman Kaleb Jenkins and pressure defense, Country Day outscored Newman 20-10 in the fourth in taking a 50-46 victory.
It enabled the Cajuns (18-6, 5-0) to remain in the lead after the first round of district play.
“We started moving the ball around and attacking,” coach Mike McGuire said. “Romin hit some big shots. Kaleb didn’t play like a freshman.
“Corchiani scored some big baskets. We started defending a lot better, so the pace was ours in the fourth quarter.”
Newman (11-9, 3-2) 1ed 36-30 entering the fourth. However, Jenkins sank a 3-pointer one minute into the quarter, then Williams made back-to-back 3-pointers that gave the Cajuns a 39-36 lead with 4:51 left.
Corchiani’s putback made it a five-point margin 30 seconds later.
The Greenies came back behind two 3-pointers by Riley Demps sandwiched around a three-point play by Corchiani, cutting the margin to 44-42 with 2:13 showing. However, Williams made six free throws down the stretch to hold off Newman.
Williams finished with 20 points, Corchiani 17 and Jenkins 13 for Country Day. They were the Cajuns’ only scorers.
Demps scored a game-high 25 points and Elbert Thomas 10 for Newman.
Demps sank two of three free throws with 4.7 seconds left to bring the Greenies to 48-46. However, Williams sealed the victory with two with 3.1 seconds showing.
“I think (Country Day’s) experience in these type situations was the difference,” Newman coach Jimmy Tillette said.
“I think our program took a step forward, but obviously we’re not ready yet.”
Leading 23-21 at halftime behind 11 points from Demps, the Greenies outscored the Cajuns 8-4 over the final three minutes to go into the fourth leading by six.
Newman had taken the two-point halftime lead after working the clock down for the final 56 seconds of the second quarter, with Thomas scoring a backdoor layup on a beautifully executed play.
Newman led 12-6 at the end in the first quarter, with Thomas making two 3-pointers.
However, County Day went on a 10-0 run to take a 16-12 lead at the five-minute mark before Demps scored nine points to give the Greenies a 21-18 lead with 1:28 left. Jenkins’ 3 tied the score with 59 seconds showing.