Matus’ 18 helps guide Comets over Bulldogs, 59-57

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 8, 2008


Sports Editor

After a series of close losses through the first round of District 9-3A play, it seemed like only a matter of time before St. Charles would come out on the winning end of one of those nailbiters.

That time came last Friday night.

The Comets survived a furious fourth quarter comeback to fend off Lutcher and secure a 59-57 victory at St. Charles.

Birch Matus scored 18 and DeMarcus Bernard scored 16 to lead the Comets (15-15, 2-3).

Charles Gant scored 15 to lead the way for Lutcher.

The win placed St. Charles in a third-place tie with Lutcher in the district standings, and gives the Comets new life in the playoff chase.

“We made sure that we went into the game with the mindset that this is a new round,” said St. Charles Coach Jonathan Hernandez. “We have the mentality that we’re going to win the close ones. If we do the little things that we have to do to win games, our fortune will change.”

It didn’t look like it would be a close game early on, though. St. Charles shut Lutcher out in the opening quarter and took a 9-0 lead into the second.

The Comets led 23-16 at halftime, and extended their lead to 42-31 after three quarters.

But in the fourth, the Bulldogs were able to combat the defensive pressure of the Comets successfully, and apply some of its own.

“They did a good job of picking up the pressure in the fourth quarter. We didn’t,” said Hernandez.

Turnovers, combined with nine missed free throws by the Comets, helped the Bulldogs outscore St. Charles 26-17 in the fourth quarter.

“That was the difference between it being a two-point or a 10-point game,” said Hernandez.

But while Lutcher made enough plays late in the teams’ previous meeting (a 44-42 Lutcher win) to seize victory, St. Charles wasn’t about to let another potential win slip away. Lutcher was unable to gain the lead.

Matus’s 18 was a big boon for a Comets team that has relied on the scoring of Bernard and Vincent Rollo for much of the season. Hernandez says that he and teammate Zack Goodwin are two who have stepped up in a big way during district play.

“They’re two sophomores who have done a great job for us, in a year where they’ve been responsible for more than they probably thought they would be,” said Hernandez. “Those guys have responded very well to the challenge.”