Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Lake Charles Area Report: Tors fall to Cougars at Cajundome

Sulphur senior guard Matt LeBato scored 17 points
and blocked three shots in the Tors loss to
St. Thomas More in the Cajundome on Tuesday.

By Rodrick Anderson

Southwest Daily News

The Sulphur Tors started out strong against the St. Thomas More Cougars on Tuesday at the Cajundome in the Road to the Championship Basketball Series. But the road weary Tors fell to the Cougars 64-50 for their second consecutive loss of the season.

It was the sixth consecutive road game for the Tors that included two games in Huntsville, Alabama last week.

Sulphur (5-2) scored first with Chip Armelin hitting a basket 30 seconds into the game.

In his first game of the season after returning from a preseason injury, senior guard Matt LeBato made a three point play a minute and a half into the game after a shot in the lane and free throw after foul by Evan Tatford. A shot by Donovan Williams gave Sulphur their biggest lead of the game, 7-3 with 6:02 left in the first quarter.

But the game started to change after that even though the Tors were keeping the Cougars leading scorer from last year, Xavier Blackburn, in check.

The Tors held Blackburn to just five points in the first half but St. Thomas More countered with senior guard Russ Brown.

Brown scored 12 of his game-high 22 points in the first quarter to lead the Cougars to a 15-13 lead heading into the second quarter.

“Overall we did not do a very good job on defense, that is the bottom line,” Sulphur head coach Clint LeBato said. “We held Blackburn down which is good but we let that other guy score too many points. Blackburn didn't really score a bunch of points until the last quarter when we started to foul.”

Sulphur briefly took the lead again at the beginning of the second quarter on a three-pointer by LeBato but Blackburn hit a three of his own to take back the lead.

The Tors kept pace with the Cougars over the next few minutes as the pulled within one on a three by Tanner Kuykendall and tied the game at 22-22 on a three by Armelin with 4:27 left in the first half.

But the Tors offense hit a dry spell after that and went scoreless the rest of the second quarter while STM went on a 6-0 run to take a 28-22 lead at the break.

A shot at the top of the key by LeBato with 5:58 left in the third quarter brought the Tors within four points, 30-26, but that would be as close as they would get the rest of the game as their shooting troubles continued.

Sulphur made 7-of-23 shots in the second half and shot 43 percent in the game.

The Cougars led by as much as 14 points in the fourth quarter as the Tors were forced to foul.

Blackburn scored 10 points in the fourth quarter to finish with 20.

Armelin led the Tors with 22 points and five rebounds and LeBato finished with 17 points and three blocks in his first game of the year.

The Tors will get a week off to regroup before they return home to take on DeRidder on Tuesday, December 8th.

“With the number of games that we have played we have not had enough practice,” LeBato said. “But now we get a chance to go home and practice so hopefully we can get better.”

Courtesy of Southwest Daily News

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