MAUREPAS – Live Oak’s Bryan Bayonne didn’t know what all the fuss was about.
When asked for an explanation for the Eagles’ about-face in the second half – primarily a scorching five-plus minute stretch of third quarter that turned a competitive game into a runaway victory, Bayonne simply chalked it up to practice.
“I hadn’t seen anything like that,” Bayonne said of Live Oak’s offensive explosion in the third quarter. “We practice like that all the time. We’re not acting like, ‘Oh my God’. We’re expected to do this.”
Second-seeded Live Oak went on a 28-3 blitz that included eight 3-pointers and the Eagles shot 72 percent in the second half en route to an 81-34 victory Wednesday over seventh-seeded Albany in the Livingston Parish Tournament at Maurepas High School.
The Eagles (10-0) meet third-seeded Denham Springs in Friday’s semifinal at 4:30 p.m.
“Anytime we let a team score over 50, it’s not a good night for us,” Albany coach Chris Carter said. “We were holding them on a pace for 54 in the first half. Credit their players for coming out and hitting shots. That’s why they’re the two seed. The pressure was on them and they came out and responded well.”
Live Oak’s second-half shooting display (21 of 29) featured 10 of 13 marksmanship behind the arc.
Bryan Bayonne scored 18 of his game-high 22 points in the third quarter, with his twin brother Vince, who left the game late in third quarter after knocking knees with a defender, had 13 of his 21 in the opening half.
Darian Ricard scored 12 and Halen Cox 11 for the Eagles, who never trailed in the game and defeated Albany (5-6) for a second time this season.
Center Tyler Quamme led the Hornets with 12 points.
“It was just a weird first half,” Live Oak coach John Capps said. “I told the guys in the locker room they were getting good shots, they just weren’t making them. I told them to try and change it up some, get some better movement. I didn’t re-invent the wheel here.
“We told them to take it inside and then maybe kick it out and just play with some confidence,” Capps said. “Once a few of those fell, I believe we felt alright, this is what we’re supposed to do and went from there.”
Albany kept Live Oak within arm’s reach, limiting the Eagles to 31 percent shooting (11 of 36) and just 1 of 14 from 3-point range.
The Eagles compensated though, holding the Hornets to percent shooting (7 of 22) and forced them into 16 of their 27 turnovers in the first half.
“Credit goes to them for doing a good job in the first half of slowing it down, not turning it over too much and not letting us go on a big spurt,” said Capps, whose team led 27-14 at halftime. “They had trouble with our pressure. You could see it was coming a little bit and the floodgates flew open. I’m glad it worked out and it kind of broke their will right there and won convincingly.”
Live Oak made 2 of its first 13 shots and was 6-of-24 when DaDa Capling converted a three-point play for a 18-8 lead midway through the second quarter.
Bryan Bayonne’s 8-footer in the lane ignited a Live Oak offense that got its second 3-pointer of the game, this time from Cox, when Trey Yelverton’s two free throws and Quamme’s inside reduced Albany’s deficit to 17 points (34-17).
Bryan Bayonne knocked down back-to-back 3-pointers within a 20-second span and Live Oak’s devastating run was further fueled when the Eagles forced eight turnovers.
Five different players scored during the torrid 37-point third quarter – the team’s highest point total in a quarter of the season – with Bryan Bayonne adding two more 3-pointers from the identical spot in the corner to stretch the lead to 59-20 with 2:13 to go.
“We weren’t knocking down shots in the first half that we work on all the time,” Bayonne said. “In the second half we came up big; started knocking down shots we should have made. We got hot. Everybody kept their composure and we started knocking down shots.”
Live Oak, which outscored Albany 37-9 in the third quarter and 53-20 in the second half, led by as many as 52 points (76-24) on Capling’s three-point play with 3:48 remaining.
“We need to make sure we leave those first two quarters somewhere else, although we didn’t do a terrible job defensively,” Capps said. “We’re good defensively. I felt like this year our offense has been what we’re good at.”