The St. Martin Yellow Jackets have played a lot of close games during the 2016-17 season, and that experience came to the forefront at Hoopsfest on Saturday afternoon in the Coast Coliseum.
The Yellow Jackets turned back every Vancleave challenge in the fourth quarter en-route to a 53-46 victory.
“We have battled through a lot of players with inexperience,’’ St. Martin coach Charlie Pavlus said. “We had a lot of guys out there who played big roles for us who were ninth graders last year.’’
Rashoun Jones paced St. Martin (15-11) in scoring with 15 points, including three treys. Trez Kennedy and DQ Gaudin chipped in 11 points apiece.
“We had Trez Kennedy move in and he has done an unbelievable job at the point guard position for us,’’ Pavlus said. “Tonight, I don’t care how points he scored, he was the MVP of the game. He gets clipped and undercut and he comes out of the game, and I think he’s done. He comes in the locker room and says he’s ready to go… He runs the show for us.
“Rashoun Jones came off the bench and not only did he hit big shots, but he guarded their best player. Trevor Davis (of Vancleave) is one of the best players on the Coast. It was a total team effort.’’
Davis scored a game-high 16 points for Vancleave (15-10). Kylan Johnson added 12.
St. Martin led 35-26 after three quarters. Johnson hit a trey, then added a 15-footer as Vancleave cut the St. Martin lead to 39-34 with 4:46 left in the contest.
St. Martin pushed back out to 43-34 before Davis hit a trey to cut the lead to 43-37 with 2:45 left. Twice more, Vancleave would get the lead down to five points but could get no closer.
“I think we played smart,’’ Jones said. “We had some of our guys with four fouls.’’
“I played hard,’’ Kennedy said, “and gave my team all I had. We had to get a ‘W’. Earlier in the season we beat them in triple overtime, so we came out and gave what we needed.’’