Country Day tops Northwood, heads back to Top 28 _lowres

Advocate file photo by VERONICA DOMINACH-- Country Day's Romin Wiliams pushes the ball up the floor against Northwood's Josh Scott in a playoff game last season.

Country Day’s boys basketball team has already put together an impressive résumé on its way to a 6-0 start.

The Cajuns boast wins over Helen Cox, Higgins, McDonogh 35, Brother Martin, St. Augustine and Karr.

So now Country Day gets a bit of a breather after that brutal schedule, right?

Wrong.

The road doesn’t get any easier for the Cajuns, who host the Country Day Tournament that begins Friday and concludes Tuesday night.

Country Day coach Mike McGuire is hoping the momentum can carry over from last week, when his team won the Newman Tournament.

“Anytime you can start out undefeated is great, but to win the Newman Tournament for the first time in school history gave us a lot of confidence,” McGuire said. “We played four really good teams in that tournament and prior to that we played two really good teams (Cox and Higgins), so I’m pleased.”

Country Day, which competes in Class 2A, begins play in its tournament with an 8 p.m. game against Covington. It will be the Cajun’s fifth game against a Class 5A school. The other two games were against 4A schools.

Not only are the Cajuns playing bigger schools as far as enrollment, but they are facing bigger players on the court.

Outside of 6-foot-6 junior Brantley Mock, Country Day doesn’t have a lot of height on its roster.

“This is one of my smaller teams with just one player 6-6,” McGuire said. “But we have rebounded well. We have been outrebounded, but we haven’t been just getting killed on the boards. That and not turning the ball over have been the two things that stick out to me the most as far as why we are playing so well.”

Country Day committed just six turnovers against St. Augustine in the semifinals of the Newman tournament. The Cajuns are averaging just 10.5 turnovers.

“We are taking care of the ball better than we have in the past,” McGuire said.

Much of that credit goes to the backcourt of senior guard Michael Corchiani and junior Romin Williams. The duo combined for 50 points in the final of the Newman Tournament against Karr.

The Cajuns are also shooting well from the free-throw line. They shot 82 percent from the free-throw line in the Newman Tournament, including 21 of 22 against St. Aug and a 22 of 25 against Karr.

“When you make that many free throws, you give yourself a chance,” McGuire said. “That’s a big part of basketball when you’re knocking down free throws.”

Joining Mock, Corchiani and Williams in the starting lineup are senior Trey Harrell and junior Christian Kerut. The Cajuns are getting valuable minutes off the bench from senior McColl Simons, junior Blake Amann and freshman Kaleb Jenkins.

The nucleus of seniors and juniors are key part of Country Day’s early success.

“We had a real good summer,” McGuire said. “When you have four seniors and four juniors, you’re going to be more consistent. I didn’t know if we were going to be able to beat these caliber of teams, but I knew we would play and be in every game because of our senior leadership and our talented juniors. We haven’t had this mix of seniors and juniors together in a long time. But you have to hit shots too, and we have been able to do that. We are extremely pleased, especially after beating four quality programs with good players who are well coached.”

More quality teams are on the way in the four-day Country Day Tournament. Scotlandville, Riverside, St. Aug, Karr, De La Salle, John Curtis, Covington, St. Thomas More, Catholic High, Central Lafourche, St. Thomas Aquinas and South Plaquemines are all in this year’s field.

McDonogh 35 is also scheduled to be in the tournament, but the Roneagles are awaiting a ruling from the LHSAA regarding a fight that occurred in Tuesday night’s game against Landry-Walker.

LHSAA Executive Director Eddie Bonine has suspended McDonogh 35 and Landry-Walker from playing until the incident is investigated.

If McDonogh 35 doesn’t play, McGuire is expecting to replace them with either Plaquemine or the junior varsity team from St. Thomas More.