Lady Cats overcome pesky Lady Bears

Published 12:00 am Monday, February 22, 1999

MICHAEL KIRAL / L’Observateur / Febuary 22, 1999

RESERVE – Going into its bi-district playoff game against Carencro Thursday night, East St. John coach Troy Giordano was concerned how histeam would match up against one of the hottest teams in the state.

After all, the Lady Bears had already knocked off two Top 10 teams in the past week, Lafayette and LaGrange, to make it to the playoffs.

Giordano got his answer early as the Lady Cats jumped out to a 10-2 lead and never trailed, holding off a number of Carencro runs for a 71-56 victory.

East St. John (25-7) will travel to Slidell for the regional playoffs. It isthe third straight year that the Lady Cats have advanced past the first round. Slidell defeated Mount Carmel, 57-47, Thursday night.Kinya Lennix started the game on a roll, scoring 14 of her game-high 36 points in the first quarter. Her jumper from the free throw line gave theLady Cats a 10-2 lead with five minutes left in the quarter.

After a put back by Courtney Drayton, Kayla Edwards brought the Lady Bears to within 14-8 with a 3-pointer from the left arc.

East St. John responded with two free throws by Kovana Reese. GininaLouis followed with a steal, tossing to Yoshiko Taylor who found Lennix driving in from the left side.

A pass from Louis to Reese driving in from the left side made it 20-8.

Lennix and Natalie Castille traded jump shots to make it 24-12 at the end of the first quarter.

East St. John built the lead to 14 early in the second quarter on a steal byTaylor and a pass to Louis. Carencro begin chipping into the lead, withShavonne Broussard finding Tanjunika James inside to bring the Lady Bears to within 28-22 with 4:48 in the half.

Lennix brought the lead back to eight with two free throws but Carencro came right back with a deep pass from Taniqua Faulk to James to make it 32-29.

Two free throws by Lennix started the Lady Cats on a 6-1 run to end the half. Her steal near midcourt and ensuing layup made it 36-29. East St. John continued to build on its lead as the second half opened.Drayton and Lennix scored on put backs and Louis buried a 3-pointer from the right side to make it 45-30. Lennix drove inside and dumped off a passto Velinda Ard underneath to give the Lady Cats a 17-point lead.

Lacey Davenport began to pull the Lady Bears back into the game with a drive from the right side with 2:35 left in the third quarter. A 3-pointerby Edwards brought Carencro to with 52-40. But again, East St. John hadan answer with Reese drawing a foul while scoring on a put back, hitting the foul shot to make it 55-41 heading into the fourth quarter.

Lennix came alive again, scoring the first six points of the quarter on a jumper and four free throws. Ard then grabbed a steal and found Lennixdeep to give the Lady Cats their biggest lead at 63-45.

Carencro went on one last run, pulling to within 65-56 with 2:30 left on drives by Edwards and Broussard. But the Lady Cats used an effective stallto use up much of the remaining clock and Lennix, Taylor and Louis each hit two free throws down the stretch.

Giordano said stopping the outside game of Carencro was a big factor. TheLady Bears hit only three 3-pointers in the game.

“Carencro was coming off some big wins over Lafayette and LaGrange and when you face a team like that, you don’t know what to expect,” Giordano said.

“We never could put them away. But I am very pleased. We put effort andhustle into the game. We deprived them of the 3-pointer and were able toget them in foul trouble by attacking down low. We accomplished everything we set out to do in the game and put hustle in there.”Lennix scored 18 in each half to finish with 36 points. Reese added 15points and Louis tossed in eight.

Edwards led the Lady Bears with 18 points. Davenport contributed 12points and James 11.

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