Country Day coach Mike McGuire wanted his players to continue to play with the same fire that carried them to 21 wins.
There should be “no added pressure to compete,” McGuire said jokingly.
The game represented more than the obvious cross-town rivalry and standing-room-only playoff atmosphere. The Cajuns were possibly playing for a potential tie in first place in District 12-2A with Riverside. Newman (14-10) lost a close one to Country Day by four points earlier in the season, setting up a potential revenge game.
But Country Day (22-8) dismantled Newman 65-34 on senior night at Fitzgerald Skertich Arena.
The Cajuns were led by point guard Romin Williams’ suffocating defense and offensive quickness. He not only led the team in steals with five but also recorded 13 points. His ability to create for Country Day made a big difference.
“I knew early on if I applied pressure we could get them to make some mistakes,” Williams said. “I was able to take advantage of their guards and gain some easy passes to my teammates. We did a much better job tonight of playing team ball, and it showed on the scoreboard.”
Riley Demps led the Greenies with nine points and added four rebounds. Demps knocked down three consecutive 3-pointers late in the fourth quarter.
Tough full-court press afforded the Cajuns a bunch of opportunities to score in the first half. By halftime the Greenies had seven turnovers. To make matters worse for Newman, the Cajuns went 6-of-6 from the free-throw line off the forced turnovers.
Country Day waltzed into the second quarter holding a 22-4 lead, thanks to a bunch of 3-pointers by the Cajuns guards. McCall Simons had the hot hand in the first half with 11 points.
With 1:52 remaining before halftime, a layup by Newman’s Austin Carriere ended a 28-0 run by the Cajuns. By the end of the third quarter the Cajusn led 56-15.
“We just didn’t compete like we should have,” coach Jimmy Tillette said. “We gave up to many offensive second-chance points, and it costs us. It was just a great effort on their part and something we have to build upon.”
Country Day’s Blake Armann and Michael Corchiani added 13 points apiece. Armann finished 3-of-4 from beyond the arc and added three steals.
Newman’s Meyer Winsberg and Thomas Elbert scored eight and seven points.