GRAY –- After a back-and-forth first half, H.L. Bourgeois exploded in the second half Thursday night to earn a 85-73 victory over Westgate in the opening day of the Gene Simmons Memorial Basketball Tournament.

Anthony Rainey Jr. scored a game-high 37 points to head the Braves, flowed by Rayshawn Mart Jr. with 22 points and Chance Gasery with 14. Markeyvrick Eddie led the Tigers with 21 points, along with Anthony Phomirath with 19 points.

“We didn’t play very well in the first half. The kids played a great second half,” Braves head coach Andrew Caillouet said. “Rashawn Mart and Anthony Rainey did some good things offensively, and the kids just played within the system and did the right things. The big difference was we finally manned up and got some boards.”

“They didn’t pull away from us in the second half. It became a free throw shooting exhibition in the fourth quarter,” Westgate head coach Oliver Winston siad. “No. 1 (Rainey) got loose; he probably knocked down four or five in a row. He’s too good of a player for us to let loose.”

The first half featured four ties and eight lead changes. Eddie scored straight points, including consecutive threes, to give Westgate a 12-8 lead midway through the first quarter. Rainey responded with seven consecutive points to put H.L. Bourgeois (8-1 overall) a 15-14 advantage.

Westgate (5-2) pounded the offensive glass and got second-chance points to stay ahead in the second quarter. After a three-point play by Gasery cut the Braves deficit 35-33, Westgate grabbed three straight offensive rebounds until Eddie drained his third three pointer for a five-point Tigers lead.

Just before halftime Mart sank a long three to pull Bourgeois (8-1) within 45-44 at intermission.

“I thought we were able to expose them a little bit man-to-man. We kicked the ball out and beat them on the boards,” Winston said..

"They were playing more physical than us in the first half. When you play physical, the referees will let you play a little bit,” Caillouet said.

After Westgate’s last lead at 50-48, the Braves went on a 35-15 burst through the third and fourth quarters.

Gasery got steals for untested layups on consecutive possessions. Mart pulled up for short jumpers in the lane to give Bourgeois a 65-61 lead after the third quarter. In the fourth, Rainey scored 11 straight on running floaters in the paint and a corner three pointer. The Braves also got converted at the free throw line, going 18-of-22.

“The biggest thing we talked about at halftime on the offensive end is being more active,” Caillouet explained. “We weren’t moving hard enough without the basketball. We moved a whole harder without the basketball, and that opened up some things.”

“Second half they just did a better job of keeping us off the boards,” Winston said. “They’re a good team. They’re at they’re house. They knocked down big shots.”

As the tournament continues, Caillouet wants his team to play with intensity the whole 32 minutes.

“You hope to continue playing hard no matter who the opponent is. You stay focus and run our offensive scheme even when the breaks not there,” he said.

TERREBONNE 72, HOUMA CHRISTIAN 55 (BOYS)

Also at the Gene Simmons tournament, Terrebonne scored 10 straight points to begin the second quarter to pull away from Houma Christian.

Davaughn Gauno led the Tigers with 28 points, along with Daveyon Smith with 11 points. Tre Washington led the Warriors with 14 points, followed by Jecorie Ward (13 points) and Manny Frye (11 points)

Terrebonne led 14-13 after the first quarter, 33-21 at halftime and 56-39 after the third quarter.

BOYS BASKETBALL CAPSULES

ELLENDER 71, CAPTAIN SHREVE 36 (at the Gene Simmons Memorial tournament at H.L. Bourgeois, nondistrict game)

Score by quarters: Ellender led 18-6 after the first quarter, 30-13 at halftime and 46-26 at the end of the third quarter.

Statistical leaders: Ellender -- Marquie Mosely (20 points), Davontavean Martin (16 points, 12 rebounds, 10 assists), Kobe Hartman (12 points).

Records: Ellender (9-3 overall); Captain Shreve (4-6 overall).

BONNABEL 57, ASSUMPTION 50 (at East Ascension tournament in Gonzales, nondistrict game)

Statistical leaders: Assumption -- Marlon Robinson (16 points), Jahein Spencer (15 points), Dongel Washington (nine points).

Records: Bonnabel (7-1 overall); Assumption (5-5 overall).

JEHOVAH-JIREH 67, ST. JAMES 49 (at East Iberville tournament, nondistrict game)

Statistical leaders: St. James -- Jeremy Harry (12 points), Keithon Burham (nine points).

Records: St. James (1-8 overall); Jehovah-Jireh (12-1 overall).

COVENANT CHRISTIAN ACADEMY 56, RUNNELS 37 (at Episcopal tournament, nondistrict game).

Statistical leaders: CCA -- Justin Jackson (24 points), Dakarai Johnson (16 points).

Note: CCA lost to Woodlawn 33-26 at the opening day of the tournament on Wednesday. Dakarai Johnson had 10 points.

Record: CCA (2-6 overall).

--Compiled by Staff Writer Chris Singleton