Chalmette High School may have had the biggest guy on the court, but Bonnabel had the guy making all the biggest shots.
The Bruins (14-2, 1-0 in District 8-5A) overcame a triple-double from Owls’ 7-footer Mitchell Robinson with four huge points from sophomore T.J. Collins in the final 20 seconds to pull off a 57-53 road win Tuesday in the district opener for both teams.
“This is a huge win for our guys in a very hostile environment,” Bonnabel coach Glenn Dyer said. “The kid (Robinson) was incredible, he did a little bit of everything, but you have to be proud of the way our guys competed all the way until the end.”
Bonnabel — ranked No. 8 in the New Orleans Advocate Super 10 — jumped out to a 29-24 lead to start the second half, but Chalmette (15-5, 0-1) started getting stops on defense to get back into the game.
The No. 7 Owls capped the third quarter with a 13-0 run that ended with a Robinson three-point play that gave his team a 37-29 lead going into the final quarter.
The Bruins continued to fight, and Joe Thompson’s midrange jumper with three minutes left capped a 15-3 run that gave Bonnabel a 49-43 lead late in the fourth quarter.
Chalmette eased its way back in the game after eight straight points from guard Blake Coker tied it at 51, but Collins drilled a corner 3-pointer with 20 seconds left to give Bonnabel a 54-51 lead.
The Owls cut their deficit down to 54-53 after a Coker layup, but Robinson was called for an intentional foul on Collins with less than 10 seconds left in the game, allowing Collins to add one more free throw and put things away for the Bruins.
Collins had 18 points and six rebounds to lead the Bruins, while Robinson, a Texas A&M commitment, had a game-high 24 points, 10 rebounds and 10 blocks.
“That guy is really good. He’s hard to defend,” said Collins. “He was hitting 3-pointers and everything on us, but my guys found me in the corner and I hit the shot.”
Bonnabel fell behind early after struggling to deal with the Owls’ high level of energy early, but the Bruins picked things up in the second quarter.
But so did Robinson.
The junior accounted for seven points, four rebounds and five blocks in the second quarter, but Bonnabel’s increased intensity and a buzzer-beating 3-pointer by Bruins guard T.J. Collins sent the two teams into halftime tied at 22.
“I don’t know what it was, but we seemed a little lethargic in the first quarter,” Dyer said. “Once we picked it up a little, it changed our guys confidence and belief that they could win the game. That was a major difference for us.”