Saint Mary’s varsity basketball opened post season play Monday after earning a bye in the first round. They are the Division IV second seed and have their eyes focused on a trip to Burton Coliseum. The regional action pitted the Westminster Christian Crusaders against a tough Tiger team that finished the regular season with a 25-5 overall record and an undefeated district season.
The Crusaders advanced to play the Tigers after defeating Catholic of Pointe Coupee. The Tigers started play with possession of the ball off the tip and immediately go to work. Bailey Shelton feeds Thomas Howell who rattles the rim with a jam to set the tone for the game. T. Howell would have an additional dunk in early action and the Tigers led by 15 points with just under 2 minutes to play in the first quarter. Parker Bankston added to the scoring draining a couple of long range three balls and the score stood at 26-2 to start the second period of play.
The Crusaders just could not match the intensity of the Tigers. Trey Fimin #10 for the Crusaders tried to slow T. Howell but his attempts were in vain. Half time had the Tigers leading by 30 with a score of 41 to 11. T. Howell had 15 points and Bankston had 11. The second half of play was more of the same, power and intensity from Saint Mary’s. Aaron Howell had a couple of steals on inbound pressure and was rewarded with easy layups under the goal.
Coach Jason Kern kept pressure on the Crusaders and didn’t call it off until there was about 3 minutes to play in the third period. The Tigers had a commanding lead 68-22 at the end of three. #21 Princeton Malbrue was the story of the second half for Westminster. He had several coast to coast trips to the basket and when he wasn’t able to make easy layup, he had #22 Braylen Henry following to make the shot.
The effort would fall short as the Tigers were raining in three’s almost all evening and led by 30 points for a majority of the game. Saint Mary’s emerges victorious with a final score of 82-45. They will play Houma Christian Friday at home.
T. Howell continues to impress the crowd with double double performances. He had 25 points, 18 rebounds and 7 blocks. Jared Elie added 15 points and A. Howell had 13.