ESJ wins district opener

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 30, 1999

MICHAEL KIRAL / L’Observateur / December 30, 1999

RESERVE – With East St. John struggling offensively in the first half of itsDistrict 7-5A opener against South Terrebonne Tuesday night, Lady Cats coach Troy Giordano decided to pick things up on the defensive side of the ball.

The strategy to go to the full-court press paid off as the Lady Cats used a 17-2 run in the second quarter to pull away to a 56-32 victory over the Lady Gators. The victory improved the three-time defending districtchampions to 17-5 overall.

East St. John led 18-16 early in the second quarter before DanielleStemley knocked down a 3-pointer from the top of the key. Kavonna Reesethen grabbed a rebound and passed to Ginina Louis who drove in and dropped a pass of to Kinya Lennix on the right baseline for a short jumper.

Stemley then drove in for a layup, grabbed a steal and passed behind her back to Lennix to make it 27-16 with 5:13 left in the half.

Consecutive drives by Louis made it 33-18 with under four minutes left. Adrive by Stemley off a steal by Reyoung Jasper built the lead to 37-19 at halftime.

“We started the second quarter with a full court press,” Giordano said. “Iwanted to make them work harder on defense to get us out of the sluggish mode.”East St. John continued to build on its lead in the third quarter. Ardcontributed a three-point play after a put back early in the quarter and then scored on another put back to make it 42-19. After a drive byThibodeaux, Stemley drove in and then found Pam Winston inside to make it 46-23 with 1:14 left in the third quarter. A jumper from the left wingby Thibodeaux cut the deficit to 20 at the end of the quarter.

But South Terrebonne could get no closer than 19 in the fourth quarter.

After two free throws by Lecompte made it 49-30, East St. John answeredwith drives by Deanna Mattos and Williams to build the lead back to 23.

The first quarter was a seesaw affair with East St. John taking a 12-8lead on a put back by Ard. South Terrebonne tied the game on jumpers byStringer and Thibodeaux before the Lady Cats regained a four-point lead on a layup by Stemley off a steal by Reese. A drive by Kim Williams cut thedeficit to 16-14 at the end of the quarter.

The Lady Cats host Thibodaux Tuesday night.

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