It came down to basic facts and basketball for St. Michael the Archangel.
The Warriors had lost five straight and needed a win in their District 6-4A girls opener.
Point guard Sabree Wilson missed the game to be with her father, former LSU assistant coach Frank Wilson, who was introduced as the new head football coach at UTSA.
Tyler Morrison scored 20 points to lead a trio of double figures scorers as St. Michael stuck to the basketball basics in a 55-21 victory over Belaire High at home Friday night.
“We’ve been on a losing streak and tonight we got it done,” St. Michael coach Tami McClure said. “When Belaire made a late run, we called timeout. We settled down and found a way to win.”
Morrison also had nine rebounds, four assists and four steals for the Warriors (15-8, 1-0). Jordan Schexnayder contributed a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Molly Smith added 10 points and eight rebounds.
Kianna Maxie tallied a game-high 21 points for Belaire (10-6, 1-1), while Chelsey Smith added 10. One fundamental — free-throw shooting — was particularly telling. Belaire was 9 of 18, compared to 10 of 15 for St. Michael.
“We’re young … we have five ninth-graders and that hurts us inside,” Belaire coach Ella Reado said. “They beat us on missed layups, missed free throws and opportunities. We miss a lot of free throws, and, against a well-coached team like St. Michael, you can’t do that.”
Both teams struggled in the first quarter. They combined for 6 of 24 shooting from the field and 13 turnovers.
Belaire grabbed a 5-4 lead on a jumper in the lane by Maxie with 4:53 left in the first period. St. Michael scored seven of the final nine points in the quarter. A 3-pointer from the left wing by Essa Badon sent the Warriors into the second quarter with an 11-7 lead.
The game remained close during the opening minutes of the second quarter. Chelsey Smith’s bucket got Belaire within one at 16-15.
McClure put it on her two post players, Schexnayder and Molly Smith, to be difference makers and they were. Schexnayder scored twice in the final 25 seconds, giving the Warriors a 27-17 halftime lead.
A 11-0 run pushed St. Michael’s lead to 16 points in the third quarter. Morrison scored six points in the period. But Belaire countered by nine of the first 11 points in the final quarter. Two free throws by Ivoryelle Edwards cut SMHS’ lead to four, at 43-39, with 3:34 remaining. Molly Smith scored eight points to help close out the win for St. Michael.
“It was a quick adjustment when we found out Sabree wasn’t going to be here,” Morrison said. “We came together and got the win.”