Oh, what a difference a day and change in venue can make.
Such was the case for the Karr Cougars who found a 24-hour interlude and departure from their own gym to their liking in recording a 52-39 District 9-4A victory at reigning league champion Warren Easton on Wednesday night.
Karr was beaten 47-42 by Easton at the Karr gym on Tuesday night in a nondistrict contest that set the stage for the game to decide the league crown.
Guard Reynaud Shields, center Jalen Hamilton and guard-forward Alfred Anderson scored 12, 11 and 11 points, respectively, to help the Cougars earn at least a share of the district title and an opportunity for an outright undefeated championship pending the results of their Thursday night regular-season finale at Belle Chasse.
Karr (12-18, 3-0 in District 9-4A) entered the contest on a three-game losing streak and having lost five of its past eight games counting Tuesday’s loss to Easton.
“We didn’t say anything to the kids today, but we told them last night that they let Easton come into our gym and then outplay you, outwork you and outhustle you. And they probably outcoached us,’’ Karr coach Taurus Howard said. “We didn’t say anything more about it today. The kids just were determined to play better tonight.’’
That proved evident even during a sluggish and sloppy first half in which these two state-playoff bound teams combined to produce as many turnovers as points in a first period that ended 5-4 in Easton’s favor.
It would prove to be the Eagles’ last hoorah as the Cougars used a 15-2 run through the second quarter to assume a 19-7 halftime advantage and never look back.
Hamilton and Shields each scored seven points to account for all but 5 of Karr’s first-half total while Easton’s lone points of the second period came on a driving layup by guard Kendrick Every five minutes into the quarter.
The Cougars would lead by double digits thereafter with their largest lead being 19 points, at 43-24, following an Anderson jump shot with 4:28 remaining.
“We did a good job of controlling the boards,’’ Howard said. “We didn’t let their big guys kill us like they did last night. We also did a good job of taking care of the basketball and that was something else that hurt us last night.’’
Forward Dylan Hill, Hamilton and Anderson grabbed nine, seven and five rebounds, respectively, to give the Cougars a commanding 35-26 advantage on the boards. Hamilton and Hill also combined to block five shots with Hamilton rejecting four.
“We had to come out with more intensity because they beat us,’’ Hamilton said. “We didn’t want to lose twice to them. We had to play defense and we had to play with more intensity.’’
Easton (22-9, 2-1 9-4A) entered the game riding a 10-game winning streak and having won 14 of its last 15 outings, but was undone by poor shooting against an impenetrable 2-3 zone Karr presented. The Eagles end the regular season at 7 p.m. Friday at Helen Cox.
Guard Justin Williams was Easton’s lone player in double figures with a game-high 15 points, all of which were scored in the second half.
“That’s unlike us,’’ Easton coach Neil McKendall said of his team’s lethargic offensive performance. “We average 40 to 50 points a game. We just didn’t knock down any shots. I give credit to them for their zone. Their zone caused us a lot of trouble. And they were more aggressive than we were, bottom line.’’
“All year our big thing has been trying to find some consistency,’’ Howard said. “Till last night we had been playing with a little more consistency. We’ve been improving all year. And if we can continue to be consistent, we’ll be OK.’’
KARR 52, WARREN EASTON 39
Karr 4 15 13 20 — 52
Warren Easton 5 2 11 21 — 39
Scoring — KARR: Alfred Anderson 11; Jahii Howard 6; Mister Simmons 3; Reynaud Shields 12; Dylan Hill 9; Jalen Hamilton 11. EASTON: Justin Williams 15; Troy Joseph 7; Frederick Shields 4; Kendrick Every 7; Darius Day 2; Errol Robertson 2; Donte Green 1; Casey Cain 1.
3-pointers: Karr 2 (Mister Simmons, Reynaud Shields). Easton 3 (Justin Williams 2, Kendrick Every 1).
Team records: Karr 12-18, 3-0 in District 9-4A; Warren Easton 22-9, 2-1