The St. Paul’s boys basketball team didn’t like losing its opening game Nov. 17 at Parkview Baptist.
Coach Phil Williams squad hasn’t had to experience that feeling since.
Winners of their 16th straight game, St. Paul’s defeated Destrehan 81-68 Wednesday night in the championship game of the Gene Bennett Memorial Tournament.
The Wolves (16-1) were led by Harrison Prieto’s 25 points. Skyler Herbert had 13.
Destrehan (11-8) was led by Lionel Maxon who had a game-high 28 points and J.R. Blood had 13.
After the Wolives fell behind 5-0, Prieto helped lead a pair of first-quarter runs. An 8-0 run gave the Wolves the lead at 8-5 with 4:37 to go in the opening quarter. St. Paul’s finished the first quarter on a 10-1 run to take a 18-8 advantage.
Holding Destrehan without a field goal for the final 4:19 of the opening quarter, the runs continued into the second for St. Paul’s. The Wolves opened the second quarter on a 9-2 run, and Parker Edwards bucket made it a 27-10 lead.
With the Wolves up 31-18, a technical foul on Destrehan coach Todd Bourg ignited a 7-0 St. Paul’s run, which saw the Wolves lead balloon to 38-18 with under a minute to go in the first half.
The Wildcats scored the first seven points of the second half, cutting the lead to 38-27. Prieto responded by scoring the next five points for St. Paul’s, pushing its lead to 43-27 with 5:50 to go in the third quarter.
Cutting the St. Paul’s lead to 11 on multiple occasions in the third quarter, Destrehan couldn’t get it under double-digits in the second half.
“We knew coming into the game that if we played our game, we were going to be successful,” Prieto said. “So that’s what we did. We came out from the start and played our game. We didn’t let anything else affect us (Wednesday night) and that allowed us to come away with the victory.”
Prieto said he is excited about the win streak, but he said his team is still concentrating on playing well in their next game.
“Our focus isn’t a winning streak,” he said. “Our focus is to just come out and play as well as we can in the next game we have.”
The Wolves open District District 6-5A play at home against Northshore on Jan. 5. Destrehan will travel to Hahnville on Jan. 5.
“It is just a different feel on the court when district play starts,” Prieto said. “For us, the approach isn’t going to change. We are all brothers going out on the court playing some basketball. That is just how we do things here.”