Country Day leaned on the explosive scoring of guards Romin Williams and Michael Corchiani in its first seven games.
The Cajuns (8-0) didn’t have that luxury Saturday, but still found a way to pull out a 66-53 victory over John Curtis in the second round of the Country Day Classic on Saturday night and remain undefeated.
Country Day will move on to play Edna Karr, which beat St. Thomas More on Saturday, for 5:30 p.m. semifinal matchup Monday.
“I told them that they are going to have to use those other guys,” Country Day coach Mike McGuire said. “We were more balanced tonight. (Williams) didn’t score the way he usually does, but we got other guys involved and they made shots.”
Corchiani led Country Day with 23 points, seven rebounds and five steals. Williams only made three of 12 shots but still finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
“I didn’t have a good game (Saturday) night, but my teammates picked me up,” Williams said. “If they didn’t step up the way they did, I don’t know if we would’ve come out with the win. They told me they had my back at halftime, and that’s what they did.”
After not leading by any more than five points in the first half, Country Day built up a double-digit lead over Curtis (4-3) by opening the third quarter with an 8-0 run, capped off by a Christian Kerut 3-pointer that made it 38-25.
The Cajuns maintained their double-digit lead into the fourth quarter, but Curtis guard Kai Morgan scored 13 of his team’s first 14 points to open the fourth quarter and helped the Patriots cut their deficit down to 53-48.
Country Day started getting defensive stops and went on a 10-0 run that gave them a 63-48 lead and effectively put the game away.
Morgan finished with 25 points, but Curtis coach Mike Krajcer said his team, which allowed Country Day to attempt 34 free throws, didn’t do a good enough job of defending without fouling.
“They made free throws, that’s the bottom line,” he said. “We were giving them touch fouls and didn’t give ourselves an opportunity to get a stop.”
After the Cajuns jumped out to 19-15 lead in an active first quarter, both teams’ offenses slowed down to a crawl in the second quarter.
Neither team reached double-digit points in the quarter until both heated up in the final two minutes of the half. Both teams stayed within one score of each other for most of the half, but a 30-foot, 3-pointer by McColl Simons at the buzzer gave Country Day a 30-25 lead going into halftime.
“The key for us was staying aggressive because John Curtis is known for making comebacks,” Corchiani said. “Playing hard the entire game was our main focus, along with executing.”