LAFAYETTE — With Chalmette up 16-15 midway through the second quarter against St. Thomas More, Cougars junior Michael Gallagher hit a 3-pointer to give the Cougars an 18-16 lead.

On the next possesion, Gallagher passed to Will Vincent, who slammed it home and fired up the STM bench.

The Cougars went on a 19-4 run from there to open up the game. STM coach Danny Broussard said that five-point swing was the biggest reason for the Cougars’ 63-44 win over Chalmette.

“It was the first game of the tournament (for STM), and I thought we came out a little tight,” Broussard said. “We had a great stretch where we pushed the lead, and once Will got that dunk, it loosened us up.”

Broussard said Vincent, who had nine points and six blocks, has the potential to be a game-changer this season.

“Will’s a shot blocker, and he can really change the game around,” Broussard said. “He is working really hard, and he is steadily improving.”

Chalmette held a 14-13 lead at the end of the first quarter. Jeremiah Flot and Glenshawn Amos each led the Owls with 13 apiece. Broussard gave Chalmette credit for coming out ready to play.

“Anytime the host of the tournament puts you in the first game, you get fired up for it,” Broussard said.

“You have to give them credit. They came out with a lot of intensity.”

Trevor Begue led the Cougars with 15 points — most of them coming in the second quarter. Broussard said Begue is an explosive player on offense and defense, and he’s making the transition quickly from football.

“Begue is so quick, and he makes a lot happen for us on defense,” Broussard said. “His floor game and his offense were pretty good. He’s so explosive where he can get some steals and get us going and offensively he can shoot the basketball. He’s always hesitant to shoot it, but I always tell him to air it out because he can hit shots.”

Broussard said the competition at this year’s Sunkist Shootout is as good as its ever been. If St. Thomas More plans to win, Broussard said it must clean up there free-throw shooting. The Cougars were 5-of-12 from the free-throw line.

“As the competition goes along, we have shoot free throws better and block out on their free throws,” Broussard said.

“Everybody is good here, and that is why teams want to come. It’s good competition and good for power points.

“We’re one of those teams that is going to have grind out our wins. We don’t have anyone that can shoot it from real deep. To be 10-2 against the competition we have played is really something.”