JEANERETTE — West St. Mary took advantage of a cold-shooting Jeanerette team in the first half to stay unbeaten in District 7-2A action with a 61-46 win at JSH on Friday.
The Wolfpack (8-9, 2-0) held a 9-5 advantage after the first quarter and pushed the margin to 16-5 on a free throw by Taylun Druilhet with 5:30 remaining in the half.
“Our goal was to come out and play zone defense,” West St. Mary head coach Gary Burrell said. “No. 1 (Taylor Tallmore), Jeanerette’s point guard, likes to penetrate so we went to the 1-3-1 to slow him down.
“For some reason, he was able to find the cracks in the second half but fortunately, we were able to keep our poise and run some time off the clock after they made their run.”
After scoring 3 in the first half, Tallmore got hot after intermission and finished with a game-high 27 points for the Tigers (6-14, 1-1).
WSM had its 18-point third-quarter lead whittled to 54-45 when Tallmore hit a 3-pointer with 1:45 remaining in the game, but the Wolfpack scored the next six points.
“We had too many unforced turnovers,” JSH head coach Dwayne Alexander said. “In the fourth quarter, we rattled them a little bit with our full-court press.
“It was hard for them to get the ball across, but we got a couple of bad breaks with the ball bouncing one way or the other where we didn’t get the steal. We had an inconsistent week of practice with kids going on trips and field trips. Our chemistry just wasn’t there tonight.”
6-foot-3 senior center Cayviyon Alexander scored 12 of his team-high 17 points in the second half for WSM.
Trenion Jackson added 13, followed by Javon Robertson’s 8 points and Jhoilon Harris and Druilhet with 7 apiece.
“We had balanced scoring,” Burrell said. “I felt our inside game gave them some problems. Our big guy (Alexander) had his moments and Druilhet had his moments. It was a multiple group of guys. It wasn’t just one person.”
Both teams combined to shoot 57 free throws.
The Wolfpack sank only 11-of-31 from the line. The Tigers also struggled (10-26) with free throws.
“We haven’t shot free throws well all year,” Burrell said.
“That’s something we’re going to have to work on. What can I say? If we make our free throws, we seal the deal early.”
There were 15 fouls in the first quarter which saw the Wolfpack miss 8 of its first 9 from the line.
“It’s more physical because it’s a rivalry game,” Burrell said. “When you see the whistle being blown as many times as it was tonight, it’s the officials taking control of the game. Our guys have to be smarter and play better defense. We’re fouling guys off the dribble.
“It always feels good to come into this gym and win on the road. It’s a tough place to play. It’s a rivalry game. We could both come in with no wins on the season and you’d see the same type of intensity.”
Alexander wants to see more of his players get into the scoring column after Tallmore accounted for 59% of JSH’s points.
“They’re watching him play. Our kids are sitting around and just watching him play,” the JSH coach said. “He’s our leading scorer with 25 or 26 points per game but still...we need balanced scoring to win in this league. If we don’t have balanced scoring, it’s going to be tough for us to win.
“I had a bunch of kids that got in foul trouble. But I think our energy wasn’t there in the first half. We came out sluggish. I couldn’t put my finger on it. I thought we played a better game in the second half, but we had too many mistakes.”