ESJ scrambles past Destrehan, 62-51

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 23, 1998

By Michael Kiral / L’Observateur / January 23, 1998

DESTREHAN – The District 6-5A-leading East St. John Lady Cats foundthemselves in a dogfight with the Destrehan Lady Cats Tuesday,overcoming a third-quarter deficit to gain their 20th victory of theseason, 62-51.

The victory was the 19th in a row for East St. John, ranked sixth in thestate, and improved its record to 20-2 on the season. The Lady Catsremained in first place in District 6-5A after the first swing throughdistrict play with a 7-0 record, two games ahead of Central Lafourche.

Central Lafourche defeated Hahnville, 44-35, Tuesday night. Destrehan isthird in district with a 4-3 record and is 14-10 overall.

Kinya Watkins led East St. John with 25 points. Tamika Williams added 19points, with Kevona Reese contributing eight points in the paint.Destrehan was paced by Imani Davis with 19 points. Kammi Darensbourgchipped in with 15 points.

Destrehan built a one-point halftime lead to 42-39 with just over threeminutes left in the third quarter as Nicole Nelson took a pass inside fromAmanda Spivey for a layup. But East St. John would then hold the Lady Catsscoreless for the rest of the quarter, reeling off nine straight points totake a 46-42 lead.

Yoshiko Taylor started the run by taking a pass from Danielle Stemley anddriving in for a layup. Williams then found Watkins twice driving in forlayups. On the second, Watkins was fouled and hit the free throw for athree-point play. Dayna Duhe completed the scoring in the quarter byputting back a rebound.

After Duhe opened the fourth quarter by banking in a short jumper, JoevoneMarkey broke the scoreless spell for Destrehan with a put back at the 5:44mark. East St. John answered with a jump shot by Watkins and a freethrow by Reese to increase its lead to 51-44.

Watkins pulled up for another jumper and Duhe found Williams behind thedefense on an inbounds pass from midcourt to give the Lady Cats theirbiggest lead of the game at 55-46. A 3-pointer by Davis rallied Destrehanback to within six, but East St. John responded by making five of sevenfree throws down the stretch.

It was actually East St. John’s inability to hit their free throws thatcontributed to the Lady Cats falling behind early in the contest. East St.John was able to hit on only 11 of its 26 free throws in the game.

East St. John scored the first four points of the game before Destrehancame back behind seven points by Davis to take a 11-10 lead with 2:15left in the first quarter. But East St. John bounced back on a jumper byWatkins and a 3-pointer by Reese to jump ahead 15-11 after eight minutesof play.

East St. John built that advantage to 18-11 in the second quarter as Reesegrabbed a rebound, passed downcourt to Stemley, who found Williams for alayup. Destrehan steadily chipped into the deficit, tying the game on aSpivey jump shot with three minutes left. Forty seconds later, MarenCameron gave the Lady Cats the lead with a 3-pointer from the left side.

Watkins scored East St. John’s next three baskets to regain the lead forthe Lady Cats at 30-29. Destrehan rallied with a jump shot by Davis and atip-in by Spivey before Stemley dropped in a jumper to make the score 33-32 in favor of Destrehan at the half.Destrehan built its biggest lead of the game at 40-35 on a drive by Davisand a put back by Nelson before East St. John rallied.

“Destrehan came to beat us,” East St. John coach Troy Giordano said. “Theycame ready to play. But we kept our composure and kept playing our game.We wanted to wear them down and we did. They are a good team. They areyoung and they are going to be good in future.”

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