WSJ gets historic victory

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 15, 2000

DANIEL TYLER GOODEN / L’Observateur / March 15, 2000

EDGARD – The West St. John High School Rams took North Vermilion Highout of the running last Friday. Despite North Vermilion’s slow game andcalculated plays, the Rams kept just ahead of them in the last quarter to take the victory, 48-46, in the Class 2A state quarterfinals.

West St. John (24-4) made its first trip to the Top 28 Tournament at theCajunDome in Lafayette Monday night where it defeated McCall. The Ramswere the first public school in St. John Parish to make the tournamentsince Second Ward in 1973.

McCall (32-7) advanced after defeating Christian Life, 57-55, Friday.

North Vermilion, the District 5-2A champions, finished its season at 26- 5.

West St. John had missed their chance last year when the Rams lost toChristian Life in the quarterfinals, but Friday they kept their team in the game and are on their way to the semifinals. The game was close. NorthVermilion played a very slow, calculated game, with patterns and plays the kept the Rams on defense. The Rams used to controling a fast pacedgame, was forced to stay on their guard and watch for the North Vermilion Patriot’s mistakes.

Donriel Louis, signed to play for LSU next fall, started off the game, 40 seconds in, as he swept past the Patriots and slammed the ball into the basket. The Patriots slowed the game back down and scored their own twoa minute later.

The Rams kept moving fast, pulling the score to 11-6 with 3:30 left in the first quarter. The Patriots were quickly falling to the Rams speed. That’swhen the Patriot’s coach, Casey Dehhomme, stopped the game. Standing information with the Rams huddled in a star formation around their basket, the Patriots went into a stall. Dehhomme ordered them to halt and let thetime run out. For 3:30, no one moved as Dehhomme put his team back inthe mindset of their game.

Come the second quarter, the Patriots began to show what their game was all about. They passed and ran patterns, never taking the ball to the netunless it had touched three pairs of hands.

With four minutes left in the half, the Patriots stalled out the Rams’ offense and kept them from scoring the rest of the half. At halftime, thescore sat at a low score of 16-15 in favor of the Rams.

In the second half, both teams worked hard to gain advantage. The Ramsand the Patriots took turns pulling ahead and falling behind. The Ramsbegan to play their defensive game better, catching mistakes in the Patriots patterns, and capitalizing.

The game still ran very slow, the Patriots controling most of the time on the clock. In the last minute of the third quarter the Ram’s defense shone.They pulled the ball out of the Patriot’s patterns twice and pulled ahead four points to enter the last quarter 31-27.

The crowd, filling the gymnasium, rose out of their stands in anticipation as the last quarter drew out longer and longer. The Rams kept their eyesopen wide as the Patriots engaged with complicated plays on their way to the basket.

As time slipped off the clock, the Patriots began to falter, and in their frustration caused more and more free throw opportunities for the Rams.

The Rams, keeping just ahead on the score board, forced the Patriots out of their careful game in the last quarter. The personal fouls for bothteams reached 10.

By the end of the game, the Patriots stayed just barely behind the Rams.

They seemed always at the point of overtaking West St. John, but it slipped through their fingers.

The game ended with Jeremy Lumar missing a free-throw but snatching the ball away from the Patriots’ Tim Hebert as he tipped the rebound with 3.6 seconds left. Louis led the Rams with 12 points. Marlon Jackson added 11 and Brian Lumar nine. Dwayne Bastain contributed another eight points and Jeremy Lumar seven.

North Vermilion was led by Hebert with 17 points.

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