In a game where the first points weren’t scored until 3:50 left in the first quarter Monday, Destrehan defeated Mandeville 42-29 in the first day of the Gene Bennett memorial tournament boys basketball tournament at St. Paul’s.
With the win, the Wildcats (10-7) advance to take on Ponchatoula in a winners bracket game at 5 p.m. Tuesday, while Mandeville (6-5) will take on Phoenix at 1 p.m. Tuesday.
David Green led Destrehan with eight points. Lucky Maxon and L’kyron Walker each had six points for the Wildcats.
The Skippers were led by Jacob Abdo’s 18 points. Chandler Diaz added four points and Eric Degalos had three.
Tylor Penn’s free throws gave the Skippers a 2-0 lead.
Destrehan’s first points came on a Green bucket that finished the scoring in the opening quarter.
Back-to-back three-pointers by Trey Jones and Devin Edwards to start the second quarter gave the Wildcats an 8-2 lead.
Mandeville’s lone field goal of the half came on a Chandler Diaz put-back with 5:09 to go in the first half.
Opening up the second half on an 8-0 run, Destrehan’s lead ballooned to 20-4 before an Abdo 3-pointer with 4:16 to go in the quarter broke another long Skipper scoring drought.
Besides Abdo’s six 3-pointers, the Skippers offense was held to six other field goals.
“You have to credit our effort defensively,” Green said. “Particularly in the first half, we were able to stop Mandeville from putting the ball in basket. That is the ultimate goal of what you are trying to do defensively and fortunately enough for us (Monday night) we were able to accomplish that.”
Now 10-7 on the season, Green said the Wildcats’ successes this year have been based on solid defense.
“You can just look at the film,” he said. “When we play well defensively, we are in games and have chances to come away with victories. It was no different than (Monday night). We came out and played extremely well defensively, and that allowed us to recover from a poor shooting performance early in the game. Defense is going to help you win games.
“I think our problems offensively early on were due to just some lack of intensity. It took us a little while to get going, but once we did, we were able to get the ball rolling and get our offense flowing like we wanted to.”
In other tournament action, Ponchatoula defeated Phoenix 53-24, and Covington beat St. Thomas Aquinas 77-56.