The Decatur Eagles locked down defensively to frustrate the Pilot Point Bearcats and took advantage of fouls at the charity stripe to pick up a lopsided win Tuesday at home.
Decatur forced 25 Pilot Point turnovers and hit 33 of its 43 free-throw attempts in a 70-40 win.
The Eagles, who returned just two starters from last year’s District 7-3A championship team, moved to 6-3 with the win.
“We’ve been connecting together and playing pretty well,” said Decatur center Caleb Hogan, who scored 15 points and pulled down four rebounds.
Decatur coach Roger Brown added: “I’m really happy. With the schedule, we’ve played some real athletic teams. We’re much better for it.”
Senior guard Austin Lamirand continued his sizzling pace, scoring 24 points. He has scored 23 or more in his last four games.
“He’s been on a tear,” Brown said. “In his last four games, he’s scored 23 or 24 points.”
Lamirand killed the Bearcats (1-7) at the free-throw line, hitting 12 of his 13 attempts. He hit four straight free-throws after a pair of technical fouls called on Pilot Point’s Alfred Harris with 3:47 left in the third quarter. The four free shots stretched Decatur’s lead to 47-28.
Lamirand hit all eight of his free throws in the third quarter and hit a three-pointer as the Eagles built a 55-32 lead.
Decatur led by as many as 31, 69-38, in the fourth quarter after Parker Slate hit a pair of free throws.
The Eagles went to the line 30 times in the second half. Four Pilot Point players fouled out, including Harris with the two technical fouls.
The Bearcats’ Aaron Buckingham fouled out with 3:47 left in the third quarter with seven points.
Pilot Point was led by Travis Price with 16 points. He fouled out in the final minute.
Pilot Point’s foul trouble began early as it picked up its 10th team foul with 1:14 left in the first quarter.
“We didn’t adjust to how the game was called,” said Pilot Point coach Jeff Price. “We’ve got to learn to adjust.”
Along with the foul trouble, Pilot Point had trouble holding on to the ball against the Decatur defense. The Bearcats committed nine turnovers in the first quarter.
“They put a lot of good defensive pressure on us,” Price said.
Decatur forced 15 turnovers in the first half and held the Bearcats to just seven field goals. For the game, Pilot Point hit just 11 baskets.
“We’re trying to be fundamentally sound,” Brown said. “I’ve stressed helpside defense, diving for loose balls and taking charges. Tonight, we really stressed communicating. We did a good job.”
Brown got extended playing time for his bench. Eight of the 10 Eagles scored.
Parker Slate came off the bench to score 13.
“We got to see a lot of people play and play well,” Brown said.