STERLING – Newman's John Payan was on fire. Payan hit three 3-pointers and seven of eight shots, pouring in 17 points. That was the first 4 minutes.
Payan went on to a 29-point first half and wound up with a career-high 33 points, despite sitting the last quarter-and-a-half. Payan led the Comets to an 86-43 win over the AFC Raiders on the second night of the 29th annual KSB/Newman Christmas Classic on Friday night at Newman High School.
Payan and the Comets (11-0) took immediate control. Newman turned up the full-court pressure defense on the short-handed Raiders (4-5), who were missing Tristan Bushman, Michael Gendusa and Bret Gittleson.
The Comets forced turnover after turnover, and Payan and company knocked down shot after shot, as Newman raced to an 18-3 start in just over 3 minutes.
Payan knocked down his third of six 3-pointers to make it 23-5 with 3:54 still remaining in the first quarter. Newman led 32-13 after the opening period.
Payan added two more 3-pointers and 12 points in the second quarter, and the Comets led 48-19 at the half.
"Nate Terveer and Micah Trancoso were getting me the ball in the right spot," said Payan, who was 6-for-10 from 3-point range. "I was open, so I just kept shooting, and I was trying to get to the bucket for easy layups."
"That's a pretty good half," Newman coach Ray Sharp said of Payan's heroics. "I'm really happy for him. He puts in a lot of time in the gym. He's a great shooter, he's real good at cutting to the basket, and he's a good offensive rebounder. He can get points in a lot of ways."
The Comets led 74-33 after three quarters. Noah McCarty scored 10 points and Nolan McGinn eight for Newman.
Troy Mairs led the Raiders with 19 points. Kevin Kurz added nine.
AFC coach Russ Zick was making no excuses.
"We were missing three tonight, but that wouldn't have mattered," Zick said. "Newman's really good. We have a lot of weaknesses, and they found most of them. We were easy prey."
Star of the game: John Payan, Newman, 33 points, 6 3-pointers
Key performers: Troy Mairs, AFC, 19 points; Noah McCarty, Newman, 10 points; Kevin Kurz, AFC, 9 points
Up next: Newman tournament – fifth-place game, AFC vs. Durand, 4:30 p.m.; championship game, Newman vs. Aquin, 7:30 p.m.