With just under three minutes left in regulation Monday night, things didn’t look so good for Country Day in its game against Karr.
Scott Plaisance, Country Day’s 6-foot-9 star forward, had just fouled out with his team trailing by two points.
But that didn’t deter the Cajuns.
With its big man on the bench, Country Day scrapped its way to a 65-64 victory over Karr in a double-overtime thriller.
“I thought our kids fought through adversity and they just kept battling and battling and battling,” Country Day coach Mike McGuire said. “I thought it was a gut check. We work hard every day for this.”
It wasn’t decided until Karr’s Anthony Jones missed a pair of free throws with 0.8 seconds left, and Country Day’s Michael Corchiani pulled down the rebound.
Corchiani finished with 10 points, including seven in the two overtime periods, when he was 7 of 8 from the free-throw line. He admitted it was tougher without Plaisance.
“The tough part was not having a person to really go to when we really needed him,” Corchiani said. “We depend on him a lot. He’s like our only advantage against these type of teams that are quick and strong.”
Turns out, the Cajuns (16-7) were fine without him. They made 13 of 16 free throws in overtime and 25 of 35 in the game. Their first field goal after regulation didn’t come until 1:50 remained in the second OT when Kent McGuire, the coach’s son, drained a 3-pointer that gave Country Day a 63-61 lead.
“That was huge,” said McGuire of his son’s shot. “We told him with Scott out, he’s the other senior and he needed to assert himself.”
Karr’s Rae Bush answered with a 3-point play seconds later that gave the Cougars a 64-63 lead. But Country Day answered when Walker Bright scored in the paint with 30 seconds left to put the Cajuns ahead to stay.
Karr had one last chance but Jones was unable to knock down the free throws that could have either won it or at least sent the game into a third overtime.
It was the second tough loss in as many days for the Cougars (13-9), ranked No. 10 in The New Orleans Advocate’s rankings last week. Karr lost to rival Landry-Walker 45-42 on Sunday.
But Karr coach Taurus Howard wasn’t using that emotional loss as an excuse, despite his team’s slow start. Country Day raced out to a 17-4 lead five minutes into the game.
“We came out a little slow from the game (Sunday) night, but the Country Day game has been on our schedule all year,” Howard said. “So we knew we had to play this game, so we aren’t going to use that for an excuse. We just didn’t do a good job of executing and taking advantage of our size inside enough. We did it, but not consistently. Give Country Day credit. And they did a good job of shooting free throws, and we did a poor job. That was the difference.”
Karr made just 21 of 44 free throws.
Bush led Karr with 23 points and Glenn Irons scored 12.
Plaisance, a University of Louisiana at Lafayette signee, led the Cajuns with 17 points to go with his 12 rebounds.
“It was pretty tough having to watch,” Plaisance said. “But I have been in foul trouble a lot with careless fouls like that. But I have great confidence in my teammates.”
J.C Younger finished with 13 points and Romin Williams and McGuire and eight each for Country Day.
“We feel like we are one of the better teams in the state and we know they are,” said McGuire, who led his team to the Class 1A title last season. “We feel like if we can compete against a team like Karr, we have a shot in the playoffs.”