WSJ seniors step up to coach’s challenge

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 22, 2000

MICHAEL KIRAL / L’Observateur / March 22, 2000

LAFAYETTE – With 2:08 left in the Class 2A championship game Friday night and the score tied at 66, West St. John coach Antoine Edwards calledhis players over and told them they had to reach deep down inside if they wanted to be state champions.

About five minutes later, the Rams were again huddled around Edwards.

But this time, they were holding aloft the state championship trophy, having weathered a late storm to defeat Coushatta, 84-71.

More so than most teams, this year’s version of the Rams knew how to reach down inside to become winners. For while the trophy they held aloftFriday night in the Cajun Dome was the first in school history in basketball, it was the third championship in three years they have brought back to Edgard.

Brain Lumar, Donriel Louis, Carl Gauthier, Amone Lumar, Marlon Jackson, Davin Farnell, Devin Herbert, Tremaine Nathan and Coi Miller were all on the West St. John football team when the Rams defeated Riverside for theClass 2A state football championship in 1998. Brian Lumar, Jeremy Lumar,Louis, Gauthier, Jackson, Nathan and Dwayne Bastain won the National Pre-Prep basketball championship as members of St. John Parish Warriorsin the spring of 1997, defeating St. Charles Parish in the title game inHouma.

And it was in that gym in Houma that the seeds for Friday’s championship were planted.

“The championship we won when we were young, it boosted our confidence,” Louis said. “We knew we had a lot of talent. We decided thatif we won a national championship in Biddy Basketball, why not in high school too? We just came out more focused, knowing what we had to do and thank the Lord, we did it.”There were some nervous moments. Coushatta rallied from a 41-35halftime deficit to take a 44-43 lead with 5:08 left in the third quarter.

After the Rams bounced back to go up by 10 in the fourth quarter, the Choctaws again rallied to tie the game at 66 with 2:08 left in the game.

That was when Edwards called timeout and huddled his players. AndJackson, one of the team’s six seniors, knew just what it was going to take to get that championship Edwards talked about.

“Playing smart and defense,” Jackson said.

First it was Louis converting two free throws to give the Rams the lead with 2:05 left. Then Brian Lumar taking a charge and converting both freethrows. Jackson followed with a steal with Lumar again hitting two freethrows to make it a six-point game. Another steal by Jackson led to alayup by Lumar and a 74-66 lead with 1:32 left in the game. Suddenly, itwas just a matter of the final seconds ticking away.

The Rams made sure there would be no further comebacks by the Choctaws. Jackson followed a miss by Louis. Louis, Jeremy Lumar andGauthier hit free throws in the final minute and Louis closed out the game with a dunk.

“All the credit goes to our coaches and our fans,” Louis said. “They alwayslend us their support and keep us in the game. They keep us focus on whatwe have to do and we feed off their energy.”And Friday night, the Rams once again gave those fans a reason to celebrate.

“We got an invitation to the dance and we danced a lot,” Jeremy Lumar, the tournament’s MVP, said.

Return To Sports Stories

Copyright © #Thisyear# Wick Communications, Inc.Best viewed with 4.0 or higher