Trey LaForge poured in 14 second-half points to help Jesuit defeat Shaw 50-42 in a Catholic League matchup at Jesuit on Tuesday night.
“For us to have a good offense, Trey has to be good offensively,” Jesuit coach Chris Jennings said after his team won its fourth straight District 9-5A game. “Foster (Moreau) also has to be good offensively, and I didn’t think they were very good at all in the first half. Obviously, they have to be on top of their games for us to compete at a high level.”
Taking a three-point lead into the fourth quarter, Jesuit (4-2 in 9-5A) found its offensive groove, nearly outdoing their production in the first three quarters (29 through three quarters and 21 in the fourth) as the Blue Jays pulled away from the Eagles (10-14, 1-4).
LaForge led the Blue Jays with 22 points on 9-of-16 shooting with five rebounds. Moreau dominated around the basket, tallying 17 points, 17 rebounds and five blocks.
“I thought in that first half we came out a little flat,” LaForge said. “We came out at halftime, made some adjustments and came out in the second half with a lot better intensity. It definitely showed.”
Jesuit carried over their offensive struggles from the first half into the early part of the third quarter, but the Blue Jays turned to Laforge to get their offense going, and the senior delivered. Using a combination of post moves and jump shots, Laforge went on a personal 8-0 run to help Jesuit take a 29-23 lead late in the third quarter, their largest of to that point.
After Jaiwon Charles drilled his first 3-pointer with a minute left in the quarter, Jesuit took a 29-26 lead into the final period.
Charles, who was coming off a 29-point performance in Shaw’s first Catholic League win in the past two seasons against Brother Martin last Friday, was forced into tough shots all night and was held to nine points on 4-of-16 shooting from the field.
“He’s a very good shooter and, you can’t let him have shots,” Jennings said. “I thought we did a very good job on him. Obviously, if the kid scores 29 points, he’s got some talent. We just had to pay attention to him.”
With both teams tied at 4 with only two minutes left in the first quarter, Jennings appeared to be upset with the energy level of his starting unit on both sides of the floor. Jennings frustration grew to the point where he removed all five players from the floor at once with a mass substitution.
Both teams continued their struggles to get things going offensively, but they both exchanged 3-pointers on the final two possessions of the period, ending with a 3 by Jesuit guard Hunter Conroy to tie the score at 9 heading into the second.
“I just didn’t think we were playing very efficiently or focused on the offensive end,” Jennings said. “I thought the guys that came in did a much better job offensively.”
The Eagles were in control for the majority of the second quarter, partially because Jesuit was struggling to match their intensity on both ends of the floor. But the Jesuit frontcourt combo of Moreau and Rob Weiss kept the Blue Jays in it with their ability to control the backboard.
Weiss and Moreau combined to outrebound Shaw in the first half by themselves (12-11), and Moreau’s putback as time expired after Laforge missed the second of two free throws tied the score at 19.
“I just know that they really don’t have the height on me,” the 6-foot-5 Moreau said. “I just had to work in the post and get some good points, get some trash and really get on the board. I think we played well tonight.”
With Tuesday’s win, Jesuit now prepares for a trip to district rival Brother Martin on Friday that might put the winner in good shape for a run at the district title, with Rummel and St. Augustine both being in the mix, as well.
“We’ve already won a few games there, and we have a big game Friday night,” LaForge said. “Hopefully, we’ve got a little momentum going into that game.”