ESJ claims district title

Published 12:00 am Saturday, February 5, 2000

MICHAEL KIRAL / L’Observateur / February 5, 2000

RESERVE – With East St. John down by 10 to Destrehan in the third quarterand a fourth straight district title on the line Tuesday night, about the only ones not worried on the East St. John side were the Lady Cats themselves.A 3-pointer by Ginina Louis put East St. John ahead to stay with 51 secondsleft in overtime and the Lady Cats held on for a 60-57 victory in the Wildcat gym. The win kept alive the Lady Cats’ streak at home and clinched theDistrict 7-5A title.

“The kids kept saying ‘don’t worry’ but I was having a heart attack,” East St.

John coach Troy Giordano commented afterwards. “They had confidencethey could come back if they kept playing defense. They showed a lot ofhearts and guts. They don’t want to lose at home and they just don’t quit.”East St. John improved to 27-5 overall and 10-0 in district play aftercompleting the season sweep of Destrehan. East St. John travelled toCentral Lafourche last night and hosts South Lafourche for senior night Tuesday.

Destrehan dropped to 18-8 overall and 7-2 in District 7-5A. The Lady Catsplayed host to South Terrebonne last night and host Hahnville Tuesday.

Destrehan concludes the regular season next Friday at Thibodaux.

Destrehan’s Diamonique Pollard opened the overtime with a jumper from the right side to give the Lady Cats a 53-51 lead. After East St. John tied it ontwo free throws by Kavonna Reese, Megan Stock hit one of two free throws, then scored off a steal by Ashley Sentimore to give Destrehan a 56-53 lead.

Reese took a pass from Danielle Stemley inside to cut the lead to one. Pollardpushed the lead back to two with a free throw and Destrehan got the ball back after an East St. John shot went out of bounds. After a three-secondcall against Destrehan, Louis got the ball in the right corner and put up a 3- pointer that went in, giving the Lady Cats a 58-57 lead with 51 seconds left.

“I was thinking we can’t lose in our gym,” Louis said. “We have to win. I put itup, prayed to God it went in and it did.”Destrehan still had a shot but Courtney Drayton grabbed a rebound on the Lady Cats’ possession. Louis was fouled on the inbounds after the ball wastipped out and hit the second of two free throws for a two-point lead with 24.3 seconds remaining.Sentimore inbounded to Maren Cameron who dribbled upcourt. Cameron putup a shot near the free throw line but had it blocked by Reese with Stemley grabbing the ball under the goal. Stemley passed to Reese who was fouled.Reese hit the first of two free throws, making it 60-57 with 7.7 secondsleft. Sentimore inbounded the ball to Quinina Sinceno who passed to Stock onthe left side. Stock put up a desperation 3-pointer as the time expired buthad it fall short.

“The kids played a great game,” Destrehan coach Ulysses Frontha said.

“They did everything we asked them to do. We put pressure on them andgrabbed a lead but we couldn’t hold it. The people got their money’s worthand more.”Louis finished with a game-high 23 points while Reese contributed 21 points.

“The seniors came up big,” Giordano said of Louis and Reese. Reese kept usin the game when everybody else was off and Louis hit a couple of big 3’s and had a number of steals. They really paid off for us tonight.”Pollard led Destrehan with 17 points. Sentimore had 11 while Joevone Markeyand Stock had nine apiece.

Destrehan led 26-21 at halftime and extended that lead to 31-21 with 5:35 left in the third quarter on a layup by Sentimore and a 3-pointer from the right wing by Cameron. A lean in by Reese, a put back by Stemley and a 3-pointer by Louis cut the deficit to five with 3:15 left in the quarter.

Destrehan came right back with a pass from Sinceno to Markey and a drive by Cameron to bring the lead back to eight. A jumper in the lane by KinyaLennix made it 42-36 heading into the final quarter.

East St. John cut the lead to 42-39 on Stemley’s 3-pointer from the leftwing with 7:35 left. Louis then took a steal in to make it a one-point game.After a steal by Reese, Louis hit the second of two free throws to tie the game at 62 with 6:55 remaining.

Destrehan regained the lead on a put back by Sentimore. After a jumper byStemley and a free throw by Stock made it 45-44, Louis hit a jumper from the right side to give East St. John the lead. Louis added a drive and Lennixhit a jumper from the left baseline to increase the lead to 50-45.

Back came Destrehan with a jumper by Pollard to cut the deficit to two.

After a free throw by Drayton, Stock tossed up a 3-pointer form the right wing that went in, tying the game at 51 with 47 seconds left.

Stemley missed two free throws on the ensuing possession but East St. Johngot the ball back with 18.5 seconds left. Sentimore grabbed a miss by Lennixbut Louis stole the outlet pass and tossed to Stemley. Stemley put up a shotthat bounced off the rim at the buzzer, sending the game into overtime.

Destrehan jumped out to a 12-4 lead with 3:24 left in the first quarter as Stock found Markey inside. A drive by Pollard increased the advantage to 16-6 with 1:21 left.

Stemley took in a steal under the basket and Reese leaned in for a short jumper to pull East St. John to within 16-10 at the end of the quarter.A jumper by Sinceno from the right side gave Destrehan a 22-16 lead early in the second quarter. Drayton hooked in a shot to cut the deficit to threebefore Destrehan came back with a jumper by Sentimore and a put back by Sinceno. A put back by Reese made it 26-21 at the half.

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