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CLOCK STRIKES TWELVE ON ESJ’S MAGICAL SEASON

By Michael Kiral / L’Observateur / February 27, 1998

MARRERO – The clock struck 12 on East St. John’s fairy tale season as JohnEhret defeated the Lady Cats, 47-37, in the state regional playoffs Monday evening in the Lady Patriots’ gymnasium.

Ehret, 24-7, traveled to Sulphur for the state quarterfinals Thursday night. East St. John closed out the season with a 29-3 record, the best inschool history.

The Lady Cats had a Cinderella season but it was though a wicked stepmother had cast an evil spell over the basket Monday night. East St.John, which came into the game averaging 66 points a contest, could not buy a basket and were out-rebounded by the Lady Patriots.

East St. John took a 22-19 lead into halftime but went scoreless for thefirst half of the third quarter. John Ehret, which also had trouble puttingthe ball in the net for most of the contest, took advantage of the cold spell to grab a 26-22 lead.

Lariana Landry got the rally started with a put back. Ginina Louis kept theLady Cats in the lead with two blocks, but Jodie Clement came back to grab her own rebound and knock down a jumper from the free throw line.

Kawayna Caesar followed with a steal, taking it in to give the Lady Patriots a 25-22 lead with five minutes remaining in the quarter.

After a 3-pointer by Louis rimmed out, Tamika Williams finally ended the scoreless spell for the Lady Cats by grabbing a defensive rebound, driving downcourt and popping in a short jumper at the 4:07 mark.

Caesar got those points back by grabbing a steal, faking a pass in the lane and driving in for a layup.

The Lady Cats again rallied as Louis grabbed a steal at midcourt and took it in, cutting the deficit to 30-27 with 1:01 left.

Ehret responded with a turnaround jumper by Clements to retake a five- point lead. Louis’s jumper at the buzzer bounced off the back of the rim,leaving the score 32-27 heading into the final quarter.

Ehret continued to take advantage of the Lady Cats’ cold shooting, increasing its lead to 38-28 on layups by Katrina Stevenson, Landry and Caesar. Louis answered with a 3-pointer from the right side, cutting thedeficit to seven with 6:10 remaining.

East St. John had chances to pull closer but shots by Louis and KinyaWatkins rimmed out. Ehret again took advantage, using jump shots byClements and Landy to take its biggest lead at 44-31 with 4:30 remaining.

The Lady Cats battled back, cutting the deficit back to 10 on a put back by Williams and a free throw by Louis. Watkins banked in a 3-pointer to pullEast St. John to within 46-37 with 1:08, but the Lady Cats would fail toscore again.

“We just didn’t play well, East St. John coach Troy Giordano said. “Wetried to have the team prepared for what was going to be a great team. Itjust didn’t work out tonight. We held them to 47 points. You usually winwhen you do that.”The Lady Patriots were led by Caesar with 19 points. Clement tossed inanother 12 points, while Landry contributed 10 points.

East St. John was led by Louis and Watkins with 12 points apiece. Watkinsand Danielle Stemley each added six points.

Caesar had eight points, including a 3-pointer, to give the Lady Patriots a 12-10 lead at the end of the first quarter. Watkins, who led the Lady Catswith six points in the quarter, had her jump shot at the buzzer rim in and out in an indication of what was to come.

The Lady Cats used a tough defense to hang in the game, however, tying the score at 14 as Williams grabbed a rebound and passed downcourt to Louis.

Stemley followed with another rebound, passing to Williams who found Louis on the right side, giving the Lady Cats a 16-14 advantage with 4:36 left in the half.

After the Lady Patriots tied the score, Williams answered with a steal, taking it in to regain the lead for the Lady Cats. Louis was then fouled on a3-point attempt, making two of the three free throws to give the Lady Cats a 20-16 advantage.

Ehret pulled to within one on a 3-pointer by Caesar, but Watkins responded by drawing a foul on the right baseline with five seconds remaining.

Watkins made both free throws, giving the Lady Cats a three-point lead at the half.

The loss snapped a school-record 28-game winning streak for the Lady Cats, but Giordano said it should not overshadow what the team has accomplished this season.

“No matter what, 29-3 is a heck of season,” Giordano said.

“We just have to get back to work and try again next season. Next year,hopefully we will be back.”

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