D'Iberville appeared set to crash the Region 7-6A opener on St. Martin's home court, but the Yellow Jackets responded with a fury in the final 10 minutes to pull off an impressive comeback.
St. Martin sophomore guard Jariyon Wilkens hit 13 of 13 free throws on his way to a 21-point performance, leading the Yellow Jackets to a 54-44 win Friday night.
Dillyn Neely's 3-pointer gave D'Iberville a 34-19 lead with 2:36 remaining in the third quarter to keep the celebration going on the Warriors' bench.
The game appeared to be slipping away from St. Martin at that point, but that's when the Yellow Jackets finally came up with the answer they so badly needed.
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St. Martin followed with a 7-0 run to cut the D'Iberville lead to 34-26 with 42 seconds left in the third quarter and that proved to be just the beginning.
St. Martin outscored D'Iberville 35-10 in the final 10 minutes of action.
"They jumped on us," Wilkens said. "Some of us thought the game was over. We put pride aside, took everything in us and we came out and took the W."
St. Martin picked up its intensity on defense late in the game, grabbing rebounds and picking up stops by slowing down D'iberville point guard Shamond Hoye, who did a good job of finding his shooters.
"Trez Kennedy really started keeping (Hoye) in front of him," Pavlus said. "That's where it all started. Once we kept (Hoye) in front of us then everything else kind of happened and opened up for us. He was just ripping right by us. Once we did a good job of keeping them in front of us, we had chance to come make shots."
St. Martin, which is ranked No. 9 by the Sun Herald, improved to 13-6 overall and 1-0 in region play while No. 10 D'Iberville dropped to 8-6 and 0-1.
"We got in a little foul trouble," D'Iberville coach Chris Odom said. "The other part of it is we wasted so much energy celebrating that we couldn't play four quarters. That's one thing we've got to learn through experience. As we move on, we'll be much better about that."
Kyle Winters and Neely both finished with 13 points to lead D'Iberville.
The Warriors led 36-26 after three quarters before St. Martin put together a dominant fourth quarter, out-scoring the Warriors 28-8 in the final eight minutes.
Wilkens had eight points in the fourth quarter, including six at the free throw line.
"This is his coming out party," Pavlus said. "He's got to make a decision. Do I want to be this guy every day or is this going to be a flash in the pan 'cuz I'm a sophomore and I'll be hit or miss. He's got a decision to make.
"We'll go watch film of the second half and say that's the team we want to be. The team we were in the first half, we need to throw that away."
Wilkens admitted he's never been in a game before where he's converted on so many free throws without a miss.
"It's just one of those things that happens," Wilkens said. "At practice, I'll go 19-for-20. I have teammates like Daetren (Bivens) pushing me. In a game, I'll go 4-for-5 or 5-for-5."
Bivens and Kennedy both contributed eight points for the Yellow Jackets.
St. Martin girls 57, D'Iberville 42: The Lady Yellow Jackets dominated the game from the outset behind 20 points, 13 rebounds and five blocks from junior center Daphane White.
St. Martin led 29-8 in the third quarter and kept D'Iberville at an arm's length the rest of the way.
Paola Torres added 14 points for St. Martin and Casey Ferguson led D'Iberville with 15 points.
St. Martin improved to 10-8 and 1-0 while D'Iberville dropped to 3-9 and 0-1.