Karr guard Vincent Phillips and Chalmette big man Mitchell Robinson are AAU teammates during the summer, playing on the New Orleans Elite.
They were on opposing teams Wednesday as Phillips claimed bragging rights in the opener of the Allstate Sugar Bowl National Prep Classic.
Phillips poured in a game-high 22 points and the Karr defense did the rest in a 68-43 victory over Chalmette at the Alario Center.
“My role is to score,” said Phillips, a 6-foot senior. “When I score, it seems like the whole team gets going.”
Karr, ranked No. 7 in The New Orleans Advocate Super 10, advances to the second round and will play Tift County (Georgia) at 4 p.m. Thursday. No. 8 Chalmette will play in the consolation bracket.
The Cougars (11-7) are hoping to make a run in this tournament like they did in the Newman Tournament, the Country Day Tournament and the St. Martinville Tournament. They finished second in all three.
“Every tournament we have played in, we’ve got to the championship, so we want to get there and win this one,” Phillips said.
Phillips, who also pulled down seven rebounds, will likely play a key role if Karr is playing in the tournament championship late Saturday night.
“Vincent does a little bit of everything for us,” Karr coach Taurus Howard said. “He rebounds, scores, he passes and plays defense. He is one of our more cerebral players. We depend on him to do a lot of us. He’s been one of our more consistent players all year. We expect that out of him. We actually need that from him.”
Phillips, who scored a season-high 31 earlier this season against St. Augustine, scored 11 points in the first half to help Karr build a 30-22 halftime lead.
The Owls (13-4) had to play most of the second quarter without Robinson, their 7-foot junior who has already committed to Texas A&M. He had two personal fouls, then picked up a third, plus a double technical (along with Karr’s Tyree Thompson) with 5:18 left in the second quarter. That gave Robinson four fouls and he sat on the bench until the fourth quarter.
“That changed the whole outcome of the game,” Chalmette coach Butch Stockton said. “But we have to learn to play when Mitch is not in the game.”
And at times, it seemed the Owls would be just fine. Chalmette trailed 21-10 when Robinson picked up his fourth foul and trimmed it to 22-16 with 3:29 left in the half before trailing by eight at the break.
“We had a chance to cut it to six and we turned the ball over too much late in the half,” Stockton said. “The second half we tried to get back in it but we couldn’t get anything going. They make you turn it over a lot.”
Karr outscored Chalmette 26-12 in the third quarter to pull away. The Cougars forced 27 Chalmette turnovers in the game.
“We knew if we pressured them we could force some turnovers,” Phillips said.
Robinson finished with 11 points, eight rebounds and eight blocked shots. He had six of his blocks before getting in foul trouble.
Thompson, Diamante Woolridge and Harvey Steward scored nine points each for the Cougars. Thompson also grabbed nine rebounds to go with his seven assists.
“Tyree does a good job of handling the ball and getting the ball to the right people in the right spot,” Howard said. “And he does a good job of calling his own number when he needs to.”
Carlton Campbell had a team-high 12 points for the Owls.