Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 26, 1998

By Michael Kiral / L’Observateur / February 26, 1998

EDGARD – Donreil Louis scored 25 points as West St. John clinched theDistrict 9-2A title with a 89-72 victory over St. Charles Catholic in frontof a capacity crowd in the Rams gym Friday evening.

West St. John, 9-1 in district and 15-7 overall, will host a wild card teamat home Friday in the bi-district playoffs. St. Charles Catholic finishedthird in the district behind the Rams and Ridgewood with a 7-3 district record. The Comets, 17-13 overall, will be on the road for the first roundof the playoffs against the District 10-2A champion.

Louis led all scorers but it was Marlon Jackson who may have come up with the biggest basket of the game, rebounding a miss by Louis and putting it back while getting fouled.

The Comets had pulled to within five with 2:36 remaining, but Jackson’s ensuing free throw gave the Rams a 80-72 lead and momentum. Jacksonfollowed by driving inside and dumping off to Joseph Gross underneath and the Comets would not score in the final 2:30. Jackson, who finished with13 points, concluded the scoring with a put back in the final seconds.

” told the kids we had to make a play happen, whether it be a shot, a defensive rebound or a steal,” St. Charles Catholic coach Philip Cavellsaid. “We forced them to miss a shot and had a chance at the rebound, butthey were able to get the rebound and get fouled. We never scored again.”We didn’t make the little plays when we had to. In a game like this, youhave to make the little plays and we didn’t. I have to hand it to West St.John. They shot the ball well and did everything they had to to win.”West St. John coach Antoine Edwards said that during a timeout justbefore the crucial possession he told the players that they just had to regroup and get back together.

“I told them to try to work the ball in and get shots inside,” Edwards said.

“We also pulled away from pressuring them and went to a man-to-man defense.”Edwards said he was happy to come away with the victory. A loss by WestSt. John coupled with Ridgewood’s 62-50 victory at St. Martin’s Fridaywould have forced a three way between the rams, Eagles and Comets.

“I am just glad we don’t have to play a special playoff,” Edwards said.

West St. John came out of the gates looking to put away thoughts of aplayoff early. A 3-pointer by Elijah Jasmine(See RAMS, Page 4C) and a basket by Gross inside off a pass by Louis gave the Rams a 13-8 lead with 3:21 left in the first quarter.

The Rams continued to build on the lead on put backs by Louis and Brian Lumar and a 3-pointer by Adair Alexander. Following a layup by CourtneyBonura, Alexander buried another 3-pointer and Louis scored inside to give the Rams a 26-10 cushion at the end of the first quarter.

Alexander, who finished with 15 points, buried his third 3-pointer of the half to give the Rams a 29-12 lead in the early minutes of the second quarter.

St. Charles Catholic then began to rally as John Price and Credere Josephhit two free throws each to pull the Comets to within 29-16. Price addeda layup and two more free throws to cut the deficit to eight with 2:43 left in the half. West St. John rebounded as Pendarvis Morris tipped in a missby Louis and Troy LaGrange buried a jumper to give the Rams a 43-32 advantage at the half.

The teams traded baskets throughout the third quarter. West St. Johngrabbed a 54-42 lead on a fingerroll by Jackson.

St. Charles Catholic came back as Price buried a 3-pointer and Maurice St.Pierre hit a short jumper in the lane to cut the deficit to nine with 2:32 left in the quarter. West St. John answered with two jump shots by Louisto take a 69-56 lead into the final quarter.

The Comets began to pull back into the game in the first minute of the quarter. David Nestor opened the rally by bouncing a pass to Priceunderneath. Oney and Price followed by hitting four of six free throws topull the Comets to within 69-62.

Oney then grabbed a steal in the backcourt, taking it in for a layup to cut the deficit to 69-64 and forcing the Rams to use a timeout with 6:59 left.

Joseph followed the timeout by intercepting a Rams pass and passing downcourt to Bonura for the score. West St. John answered with a jumpshot Jackson and a basket underneath by Gross to build its lead back to 73-67 with 5:34 remaining.

Oney sandwiched three free throws around a put back by Carl Gauthier to cut the lead to 77-72 before West St. John used a timeout with 2:54remaining in the contest.

Oney led the Comets with 23 points. Price tossed in 18 points, whileJoseph added 14 points.

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