Lady Cats’ defense too much for Lady Tigers

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 11, 1999

MICHAEL KIRAL / L’Observateur / Febuary 11, 1999

BOUTTE – When Hahnville played at East St. John earlier in the season, theLady Tigers shot over the Lady Cats’ zone defense, using 10 3-pointers to send the game into overtime before falling, 73-70.

With Friday night’s game on the road, East St. John coach Troy Giordano didnot want a repeat performance, instead using an aggressive man-to-man defense. The strategy worked as the Lady Cats held the Lady Tigers to one3-pointer in moving closer to their third straight district title with a 54- 34 victory.

East St. John (20-9, 10-1) could have clinched the District 6-5A titlewith a win at home last night against Central Lafourche. Hahnville (21-10,8-3) can clinch second place with a win last night at Terrebonne and at Central Lafourche Friday night.

Kinya Lennix and Kavonna Reese led the Lady Cats with 14 points apiece.

Ginina Louis chipped in with 11 points while Velinda Ard added nine points.

Toyelle Rickson led Hahnville with 10 points. Keanna Bethencourt addednine points while Stephanie Stipe tossed in six.

Hahnville took its last lead of the game at 7-6 midway through the first quarter on a put back by Rickson. A 3-pointer from the right side by Louison East St. John’s next possession gave the Lady Cats the lead for good.Hahnville pulled to within 11-9 as Stipe found Lashondria Lorio inside but the Lady Cats ended the quarter on a 6-0 run. A put back by Reese and ajumper from the free throw line by Lennix made it 17-9 at the end of the first quarter.

A jumper from the right side by Reese extended that lead to nine early in the second quarter. Karen Bass answered with the Lady Tigers’ only 3-pointer of the game at the 6:22 mark. A jumper by Bethencourt and a driveby Stipe cut the deficit to 21-16.

Louis buried a 3-pointer from the right side to build the lead back to 26- 18 with 1:30 left. Hahnville came back with a drive by Lorio beforeYoshika Taylor scored on a put back and Lennix hit a jumper to make it 30- 20 at halftime.

East St. John pulled away with a 11-2 run to open the third quarter. Layupsby Lennix and Louis gave the Lady Cats a 38-22 lead with 3:19 left in the period. Two possessions later, Reese drove inside for a layup and drew afoul, completing the three-point play to extend the lead to 19.

Bethencourt’s jumper from the free throw line broke a scoreless spell of 3:10 by the Lady Tigers. Bethencourt later made a free throw to make it41-25 heading into the fourth quarter.

A free throw by Bethencourt brought the Lady Tigers to within 15 on their second possession of the quarter. On East St. John’s next trip down thecourt, Ard scored inside on a pass from Danielle Stemley and was fouled.

Ard missed the foul shot but Reese put it back in, giving the Lady Cats a 45-26 lead with 6:15 remaining.

Late in the quarter, Louis grabbed a steal and dumped underneath to Reese.

Reese took the pass, hesitated and was fouled while putting up a layup.

Reese hit the free throw, giving the Lady Cats their biggest lead at 52-32.

Unlike the last time the teams met, the Lady Tigers made only four shots from the outside.

“We came at them,” Giordano said. “We were the aggressors tonight. Wedid not want them to sit back and hit 3’s and get the crowd in it. I amproud of the way we played defense tonight.

Hahnville coach Earl Oestriecher said it was matter of East St. Johnsimply being too aggressive and too quick with its man-to-man defense.

“We had trouble getting open for shots,” Oestriecher said.

“Last time they played zone. This time they played man-to-man and everytime we went inside, No. 55 (Reese) was sending them back outside.”

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