Published 12:00 am Monday, February 9, 1998

By Michael Kiral / L’Observateur / February 9, 1998

LAPLACE – St. Charles Catholic overcame a nine-point fourth quarterdeficit and held off a late West St. John charge to move into a three-waytie for first place in District 9-2A with a 74-73 victory Tuesday night.

St. Charles Catholic, 15-11 overall, is tied with West St. John andRidgewood with a 4-1 record in district. The Rams fell to 10-7 overall.

Ridgewood defeated St. Martin’s 52-37, Tuesday.The Comets started their comeback after Carl Gauthier’s jumper gave theRams a 62-53 lead on their first possession of the final quarter.

Chris Oney took a pass from Maurice St. Pierre underneath the basket for alayup, then added a jumper on the Comets’ next possession, cutting theWest St. John lead to 62-57 and forcing the Rams to use a timeout with6:04 remaining.

After two blocked shots by St. Pierre and a turnover by the Rams, CredereJoseph drove in from the left side, cutting the deficit to three. John Pricethen found St. Pierre cutting down the lane, bringing the Comets to within63-62 and forcing the Rams to use another timeout with 4:35 left.

On the Rams’ next trip down the court, Price grabbed a rebound and wasfouled. Price made the first free throw, tying the score, but missed thesecond. Oney flashed into the lane to put back the miss, giving the Cometsthe lead at 64-62 with 4:22 left.

The Comets’ defense continued to hold the Rams in check and St. Pierrewas fouled grabbing a rebound, making both free throws. Courtney Bonurathen grabbed a steal and took it in, giving the Comets a six-point leadwith 3:30 left.

Then it was West St. John’s turn to mount a comeback as Marlon Jacksonfound Donreil Louis underneath, and then took a deep pass from JosephGross to cut the deficit to 68-66. After a timeout by the Comets, Grosstied the score with a jumper from the left side with 2:06 left.

After turnovers on the next three possessions, Bonura grabbed a steal andtook it in but missed the layup. Price followed up the miss, however,giving the Comets a 70-68 lead with 1:03 left. Bonura hit one of two free throws on the Comets’ next possession,bringing the lead to three with 40 seconds remaining.Louis brought the Rams back to within one by tipping in Gross’s missed 3-point attempt. After a timeout by the Comets, St. Pierre made the secondof two free throws to give St. Charles Catholic a 72-70 lead with 21seconds remaining.

The Rams had one more chance after the ball was knocked out of boundsunder the Comets’ basket. But Bonura intercepted the inbounds passintended for Jackson near midcourt and took it in to bring the lead to four.

Jackson grabbed a rebound and buried a 3-pointer as the buzzer sounded toaccount for the final score.

“We hung around,” St. Charles Catholic coach Philip Cavell said. “Westayed around long enough to get back into the game. “I can’t say enough about our defense in the fourth quarter. I felt that wasthe turning point in the game. We didn’t give them good looks at the basketand we limited the chances they got.”

West St. John coach Antoine Edwards said mistakes down the stretch hurthis team.

“It was a good ball game, we just came up short at the end,” Edwards said.”I tip my hat off to St. Charles. They executed well.” The Comets matched the Rams’ speed early, taking an 8-2 lead on a slamdunk by Oney. West St. John climbed back to within 8-6 on a jumper byGross, but the Comets came back with a 15-7 run to take a 10-point lead.

The Comets did it on the break as Ricky Munoz and Price both took passesdowncourt in for layups. After Brian Lumar and David Nestor traded 3-pointers, drove the lane to give the Comets a 23-13 lead.West St. John bounced back as Louis scored on a put back, was fouled andcompleted the three-point play. Lumar then grabbed a steal and took it into cut the deficit to 23-18 at the end of the first quarter.

The rally continued into the second quarter as Louis popped in a jumperfrom inside the lane. After the teams traded baskets, West St. John tiedthe game at 30 on a jumper by Gross from the right side.A free throw by Louis gave the Rams their first lead of the game at 33-32.

Elijah Jasmine then knocked down a 3-pointer from the top of the arc andadded two free throws to give the Rams a 38-32 lead. Louis followed by taking a pass from Gauthier in for a slam as the Ramstook a 42-35 advantage into the break.

The Rams increased their lead to nine midway through the third quarter ona jump shot by Jackson. St. Charles Catholic rallied to cut the deficit to56-51 on three-point plays by Bonura and Price, but Gross and PendarvisMorris answered with put backs to give the Rams a 60-53 lead headinginto the final eight minutes.Oney had a double-double with a game-high 20 points and 10 rebounds.

Price chipped in with 19 points, while Joseph added 13. The Rams were paced by Gross with 18 points. Louis tossed down 16points, with Jasmine and Jackson contributing 15 and 13 points,respectively.

Cavell said it is still too early to pick out the district champion.

“We still have a lot of games left to go,” Cavell said. “All three of us stillhave to go on the road. The team that plays the best on the road will comeout on top.”

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