Newman’s offense overpowers Catholic New Iberia 69-54

Four players scored in double figures for the No. 5 Newman Greenies on Tuesday night as they took down No. 12 Catholic N.I. 69-54 in the Division III Regional round.

Seniors Riley Demps and Zach Gertler led the Greenies with 16 points apiece, while senior J.P. Bush added 15 points off the bench, as freshman Javon Ruffin chipped in with 13 points.

Bush credited his teammates and their performances which helped open up the Greenies offense.

“Riley (Demps) and Javon (Ruffin) are two exceptional scorers. They remain active and they keep the defense moving and that creates openness for the rest of us, trying to drive and make plays,” said Bush. “When all of us get rolling, we’re a hard team to beat.”

Newman coach James Tillette said Bush lifted the Greenies play with his ability to penetrate the Panther’s defense while adding energy to Newman’s defense.

“They were overplaying our ball handlers a lot, so that allowed us to do a lot of drive and kicks and that just opened up more drives because we just kept the defense shifting,” said Bush.

“I made that first 3-pointer, but I didn’t make any after that so I was like, ‘I have to do something different,’ so I had to start going to the paint. I just saw the gaps and I started to do what I do.”

Despite the win, Tillette was critical of his team’s overall performance.

“I think sometimes statistics can be deceiving. I didn’t think we ran a very good offense. I thought we didn’t share the ball like we needed to share the ball,” said Tillette. “We couldn’t keep the ball in front, our decision making was poor also, so that doesn’t bode well.”

Tillette also said his team needs to clean up their defense in order to make a deep run in the playoffs this year.

“I don’t want to take anything away from the other team because I thought they did some good things and they shot the ball well, but we have to play a lot better if we could have the chance to advance,” said Tillette.

Although Catholic N.I. (16-15) lost, coach Josh Guilbeau returns all his players next year, giving them playoff experience.

“This was a great experience for them being able to come to Newman and play a good team, a well disciplined team like coach Tillette always has, so it’ll be a great experience for us moving forward,” said Guilbeau.

The Greenies (25-7) advance to the quarterfinals to face No. 4 Episcopal (31-4) in a rematch of last year’s regional matchup Friday.