When naming the best high school backcourts the New Orleans area, some might overlook Country Day’s Michael Corchiani and Romin Williams.
If they continue playing the way they have so far this season, they won’t be overlooked much longer.
Country Day’s senior duo combined to score 50 points to help lead the Cajuns to a 66-57 victory over Karr on Saturday night to win the Newman Invitational Tournament for the first time in school history.
“We just want to be in the conversation,” Williams said. “A lot of teams overlook us. When we walk in the gym they laugh at us, but when me and Mike step on the court we want to just prove that we belong.”
Corchiani, who was awarded with tournament MVP after the game, led the Cajuns (6-0) with 26 points (12-of-13 on free throws) and four assists. Williams added 24 points, four rebounds and three steals.
“Romin’s a great player, and we’ve been playing together for a long time,” Corchiani said.
“The rankings and all that don’t really matter to us, we just worry about the scoreboard and getting as many wins as we possibly can.”
The Cajuns’ potent backcourt took control of the game in the third quarter, combining to score 12 of the team’s 14 points as Country Day extended its lead to 46-34 heading into the fourth quarter.
The Cougars (5-4) kept things close for the most part, and Vincent Phillips’ 3-pointer cut the team’s deficit to 62-55 with 32 seconds remaining. But Country Day made its free throws down the stretch to stall Karr’s comeback and seal the win.
“We’ve been playing in this tournament for a long time, and there are a lot of great names on that board (of past champions),” Country Day coach Mike McGuire said. “We’re just proud to put our name up there, and our kids played great this entire tournament.
“It’s a tremendous accomplishment for those guys.”
Karr, which was already without several of its players that were participating in Saturday’s Class 4A state football championship game, lost one more of its players when Northwestern State commitment Tyree Thompson was forced to sit out for what Karr coach Taurus Howard called an, “off-the-court issue.”
The short-handed Cougars fell behind by 10 points by the end of the first quarter, but they turned to their patented hard-nosed defense to cut the Country Day lead to 27-23 late in the second quarter.
Corchiani responded for the Cajuns, scoring the team’s final five points before halftime to give Country Day a 32-27 lead by the end of the quarter.
“It was something that had nothing to do with basketball, and we decided to bench him,” said Howard, who was also the defensive coordinator for the Cougars’ football team in Saturday’s loss to Neville.
“Give Country Day credit, those guys played hard. We just didn’t convert on our opportunities and they did.”
Phillips led the way for Karr with 24 points, 13 rebounds and five steals.