LAFAYETTE — Comeaux rode hot shooting and a swarming defense to a 45-31 win against Mandeville on Friday in its opening game of the Sunkist Shootout hosted by St. Thomas More.
The Spartans got out to a hot start in the opening quarter, draining several open 3-pointers led by senior guard Jaleel Moore, who knocked down three 3-pointers in the first quarter. Comeaux ended the first quarter with a 17-8 lead.
Moore finished with 17 points on 5-of-10 shooting.
“He’s been our best shooter this season,” Comeaux coach Jeremy Whittington said. “He came out hot, and I told him to just keep shooting.”
Mandeville coach John Priola said while the Skippers were comfortable with their defense, Moore still knocked down contested shots to bust the Skippers’ zone.
Comeaux’s defense did its part as well, holding Mandeville to eight points in the opening quarter. The Skippers’ struggles occurred largely because of a Spartans defense that was switching every pick-and-roll attempt.
Spartans freshman point guard Ferontay Banks spearheaded the defense, providing high pressure on the Skippers’ lead ball-handler.
“He’s been great for us this season,” Whittington said of Banks. “He’s so fast. We’ve been a pretty young team all season, for him to come in and play like he has it’s impressive.”
Priola said the Spartans’ ability to switch everything on defense greatly hindered the Skippers offense, with the pressure forcing mistakes.
The Spartans held Mandeville to 39 percent shooting.
Guard Ethan Turner was the only Mandeville player who was an effective weapon, scoring 14 points, making 4-of-7 3-pointers.
Whittington chose to ride his starters for most of the game, only using two players off the bench before the final minute when the game was in hand.
“We’ve been up 17 points at halftime before and lost this season,” Whittington said. “So we didn’t substitute as much in (the second half), to make sure we could close out the game.”
After the Skippers made a second-quarter run to bring the game within one possession, Whittington talked with senior Hunter Register at halftime, urging him to attack the basket and get to the foul line.
“He wasn’t shooting well from outside, so I told him ‘You’re fast enough to get by anybody on this court; now go score 20 points like I know you can,’ ” Whittington said.
Register received the message loud and clear, getting to the line a team-high seven times and finishing with 11 points and seven rebounds.
Register’s aggressive offense helped the Spartans outscore the Skippers 14-5 in the third quarter, giving them a comfortable lead.
“They are an athletic and well-coached team,” Priola said. “They knew what they had to do and they took care of business. (It’s) tough to beat teams like that.”
Comeaux will play Lafayette Christian at 10 a.m. Saturday.