When Michael Corchiani found out he would be without his backcourt mate Romin Williams for Friday’s big game against Riverside, he knew he had a long night ahead of him.
Corchiani ended the game with a bloody eye and a bloody knee, but he didn’t care about any of that in the end.
The senior poured in 30 points to help lead his team to a 63-56 upset win over Riverside (14-5, 2-1) in a District 12-2A matchup at home on Friday night.
“If you would’ve told me this would happen after we found out Romin wasn’t playing, I would’ve said you were crazy,” Corchiani said. “We just came out and played team ball, and that’s what this program is all about.
“We’re going to fight, we are going to be aggressive the whole time and that’s how we can compete with anybody.”
The Cajuns (15-6, 2-0) were without Williams — who was averaging 29.8 points over the last four games — for Friday’s contest because of the flu but Corchiani’s contribution along with clutch performances from Kaleb Jenkins on offense (14 points) and Trey Harrell on defense (two steals and a block) helped knock off the No. 1 team in the New Orleans Advocate Boys Super 10.
After winning 14 games in a row, it was Riverside’s second loss in the past three days.
“(Corchiani) was unbelievable tonight, that kid is just a warrior,” Country Day coach Mike McGuire said. “But the thing that makes this so special was it was a team effort. Knowing we weren’t going to have (Williams), we told the guys everybody had to step up and we got contributions from so many different guys.”
Corchiani had 21 through three quarters, but had to look to Jenkins to knock down some of the biggest baskets in the end.
The freshman nailed a 3-pointer with 1:12 left in the game to put No. 6 Country Day up 55-50 and sank six free throws down the stretch to put the game away.
“I just wanted to come in and do what I can do,” Jenkins said. “I knew (Williams) was down tonight, so I just wanted to step my game up.”
Riverside got 19 points from Jared Butler and 18 points from Virginia Commonwealth commitment Malik Crowfield, but foul trouble haunted the Rebels the entire game. At one point, the Rebels had four different players on the court in the fourth quarter with four fouls.
Country Day was without Williams, but the Cajuns got some help in the first half when Herb McGee was whistled for three fouls in the first quarter, which forced Riverside’s senior to the bench for the rest of the half.
Corchiani took advantage of McGee’s absence by scoring 10 of his 16 first-half points in the second and helped keep the Cajuns in the game, and Jenkins banked in a floater that gave Country Day a 29-28 lead going into halftime.
Riverside coach Timmy Byrd said the fouls were a factor in the game, but said he was disappointed with his team’s effort and viewed that as their downfall in the end.
“They out-efforted us, they outplayed us. They were ready to play, we were not,” he said. “We’re going to right the ship in practice, I can promise you that.”