For 20th-seeded St. Martin’s Episcopal, Tuesday night’s Class 1A regional playoff marked an opportunity for the Saints to upset their District 9-1A rival in the playoffs.
For fourth-seeded Country Day, it served as another game on the road to a potential third consecutive state title.
On this night, the favorite won.
Romin Williams scored 23 points and Michael Corchioni added 14 to push Country Day to a 68-42 rout at St. Martin’s.
The Cajuns earned their third victory this season against St. Martin’s and likely, the sweetest, advancing to play the winner of fifth-seeded Northwood and 12th-seeded Ascension Episcopal in the 1A quarterfinals.
“We knew if they came out and gave a fight, we had to give a better fight,” said Williams, who scored 16 of his 23 points in the first half.
“So we came to play team ball.”
For St. Martin’s, Will Dean led the Saints with 19 points. Brandon Womac had 17.
Problem was, the duo scored all but six of the Saints’ points.
“Our defensive intensity was terrific,” Country Day coach Mike McGuire said. “We had a few too many turnovers, but once we got the ball moving our shot selection got better and we start hitting shots. Our transitions were really good tonight.”
It started early, even with leading scorer J.C. Younger starting the first and second halves on the bench — McGuire said Younger was dealing with a foot injury.
While St. Martin’s struggled from the field in the first half, McCall Simon’s 3-pointer early in the second quarter gave Country Day a 13-6 lead. On St. Martin’s ensuing possession, Younger, inserted in the lineup, stole a pass, finding Simons ,who set up Corchioni for a layup, extending St. Martin’s deficit to seven.
Country Day’s lead swelled to 11 when Williams added a layup midway through the quarter, but Dean scored eight points in the quarter to place the Saints within four.
“They were really playing high up on us, putting a lot of pressure on us, so all the back door cuts were open,” Dean said.
“I got a lot of passes from drivers to the hole, and I got easy shots.”
Williams, though, countered with six consecutive points, and Younger added a baseline jump shot with 45 seconds left to give Country Day a 29-19 halftime lead.
Country Day secured the win in the third quarter by outscoring St. Martin’s 18-7.
In the first round of the playoffs, Country Day earned a 70-45 win over bidistrict opponent Covenant Christian 70-45, a 29th seed.
“I think we’re going to continue to do great in the playoffs,” Williams said. “Our chemistry is great.
“Everything is falling together for us.”