LAFAYETTE — Brother Martin’s defensive pressure proved to be too much for Carencro in the quarterfinals of the Sunkist Shootout on Saturday afternoon at St. Thomas More.
After shooting 41 percent against Crusaders in the first half and trailing 32-21, Carencro shot just 27 percent in the second half in a 67-32 loss to Brother Martin.
Crusaders coach Chris Biehl said his team turned the ball over too much in the game — 16 times to be exact, but said his team’s style wears opponents down, which he said played in the second half.
“We feel like with the pressure we put on teams, they wear down,” Biehl said. “We’re still turning the ball over too much, but our philosophy is to out-work teams and wear them down and I think that’s what happened in this one.”
The Crusaders shot 54 percent from the field, led by Venjie Wallis’ 23 points.
Carencro coach Chris Kovatch said the Bears “fell apart at the seams.”
“The second we start to play individually, we unravel,” Kovatch said.
“It is my job as the head coach to get us back to where we are playing for the name on the front of our chests and not the name our momma gave us.”
In the second quarter, Brother Martin did just what Biehl and said and wore down the Bears’ morale on one possession. Four Crusaders — Venjie Wallis, Bruce Jordan-Swilling, Luke Walker and Vejon Wallis — combined for eight offensive rebounds in one possession, ending with a Walker layup. Walker finished with 17 points and three rebounds.
“Some nights, Venjie Wallis is our best player,” Biehl said. “Some nights it’s Luke Walker. Bruce has really shown up big, and he’s just a kid who the coaches pull for. He’s one of the best players on the football team and one of the best players in the state, then he comes to basketball and you see what he does.
“We have four boys who are just workhorses. We’re not 6-foot-5, 6-6. We make up for that with a lot of effort and positioning.”
Jacob Siner and Araden Adams each led the Bears with 10 a piece.
Kovatch, who spent an hour with his players in the locker room after the game, said they have a lot of work to do before they’re where they need to be.
“We have to put away egos,” Kovatch said. “In times of adversity, character is going to get revealed. We just did not respond well to that adversity today.
“It’s going to give us an opportunity to grow and get better.”
Biehl said he is not a coach who looks ahead, but said the reason he brought his team to the Sunkist Shootout was to take part in competitive games.
“The only better competition we’ll be able to face will be in the state playoffs,” Biehl said.
“We came to this tournament because in my opinion, it’s the best tournament in the state of Louisiana. We’re going to come out (Sunday) and play our best basketball.”