Country Day rallies to top Arcadia in overtime

MONROE — Metairie Park Country Day won the overtime period 6-0, and ultimately that was all that mattered.

The Cajuns trailed by as much as 20 points in the third quarter before rallying to take a 60-54 overtime victory over Arcadia in the Class 1A boys basketball final Thursday at the Louisiana High School Athletic Association/Top 28 Tournament. The two-game afternoon session attracted 2,185 fans.

Title-game Outstanding Player Michael Corchiani finished with 15 points, including four 3-pointers, to lead a trio of double-figure scorers for Country Day, which won its first 1A crown since 2009 at the University of Louisiana at Monroe’s Fant-Ewing Coliseum.

“We’ve been in a lot of close games this year, and that game wasn’t close,” Country Day coach Mike McGuire said of the game where the Cajuns trailed 39-19 midway through the third quarter. “Give credit to Arcadia, they’re very, very good. We could not have had a worse start, but they shot lights out in the first half.

“I could see in our guys’ eyes that ‘We don’t want to lose this one like this. Let’s chip away.’ We went to the fullcourt press, and Corchiani got hot. Scott (Plaisance) altered a lot of shots, and then the momentum changed.”

Corchiani hit two 3-pointers in the third quarter to help the Cajuns rally from a 43-33 deficit at the start of the fourth quarter. He added a third 3-pointer to start the fourth-quarter surge that saw Country Day outscore the Hornets 21-11. Plaisance added 14 points and 10 rebounds, while Kent McGuire contributed 11 points.

Eric Brown and Danquarian Fields each had 17 points to pace Arcadia (25-9). Antwine Baker added 16 points, all of which came in the first half.

It was the third straight overtime playoff win for fourth-seeded Country Day. And it was a role reversal for a No. 7 Arcadia team that rallied from a 14-point fourth-quarter deficit to win its semifinal game in overtime.

“To recap the game, it was like a see-saw,” Arcadia coach Marcus Jackson said. “The things we did in the first half … everything went right. We shot the ball well. In the second half, everything went right for them and, they shot the ball well. In the second half, they got going and we went cold.”

One key point in the rally was Country Day’s changes on defense. CD’s Morgan LeCorgne limited the second-half touches for Baker after Arcadia built a 29-15 halftime lead. Still, a 3-pointer by Fields gave AHS a 39-19 lead midway through the third quarter.

The Hornets led by 20 points again after nearly two minutes later. Country Day outscored Arcadia 12-2 to close out the third quarter.

“In the first half, I think we were too anxious to shoot the ball,” Corchiani said. “We were rushing our shots. In the second half, I think we were more relaxed.”

Arcadia managed to cling to the lead until the final seconds of regulation. Plaisance came off a screen by JC Younger and scored the game-tying layup in the lane with seven seconds left to tie it at 54-54.

Younger also made the first basket in overtime to give Country Day the lead for good. He added another basket and a free throw. Arcadia missed all six of its shots in overtime.