In the driver’s seat

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 27, 2001


ESJ defeats HHS, 77-41, in district BOUTTE – With a chance to get in the driver’s seat in the District 7-5A race on the line Tuesday evening, the East St. John Lady Cats quickly got behind the wheel at Hahnville. The Lady Cats jumped out to a 14-5 first quarter lead on their way to a 77-41 victory over the Lady Tigers. East St. John moved two games ahead of second place Destrehan and three games ahead of Hahnville with an 8-0 record in district play. The Lady Cats, ranked sixth in the latest state poll, also improved to 24-3 overall. Hahnville, which had won nine of its last 11 games, fell to 13-10 overall and 5-3 in district. Both teams started slow with Kojavona Hamilton getting the Lady Cats on the scoreboard first with a put back at the 6:07 mark. Hamilton added a layup and Kinya Lennix buried a jumper from the right wing to make it 6-0. Hahnville missed its first five shots from the field before Elizabeth Landry nailed a 3-pointer from the left wing to cut the deficit to three with four minutes left. But East St. John responded with a 5-0 run, taking an 11-3 lead on two free throws by Hamilton. After a drive by Cashmire White, Lennix grabbed a steal in the backcourt and put it in for a 14-5 lead. A 3-pointer by Raeonda Jasper made it 17-7 at the end of the first quarter. Jasper buried another 3-pointer on the opening possession of the second quarter to build the lead to 13. Hahnville closed to within 22-15 with 4:23 left as Toyelle Rickson found White driving in, then followed with a drive of her own. East St. John responded again with a 11-3 run to end the half. Lennix opened the run with two free throws, then went inside to make it 25-15. After two free throws by Hamilton, Lennix scored on a put back, then drove in for another score. Two free throws by Courtney Drayton made it a 33-16 game. Rickson closed out the scoring in the half with two free throws. East St. John opened the second half with a drive by Erin Keller and a three-point play off a put back by Velinda Ard. Rickson buried a 3-pointer from the left wing a possession later but a put back by Keller and a jumper by Lennix made it 42-22 with 5:23 left in the quarter. A layup by Danielle Stemley off a rebound by Lennix gave the Lady Cats their biggest lead of the quarter at 52-28. Hahnville came back with a 7-1 run behind Landry’s 3-pointer from the left wing, a drive by Rickson and two free throws by White to cut the deficit to 53-35 going into the fourth quarter. But East St. John pulled away again with a 12-0 run to open the final period. Hamilton drove in off a steal by Lennix, then scored off a rebound by Drayton to make it 59-35 with 6:12 left. Put backs by Ard and Drayton built the lead to 65-35 with under four minutes to play. “I thought we played really well tonight,” East St. John head coach Troy Giordano, whose team completed a sweep of Hahnville with the win, said. “The girls stepped it up when they had to. They knew what it meant. We’re in the driver’s seat now.” Hamilton finished with a game-high 22 points for East St. John. Lennix tossed in another 20 points while Ard had seven. Rickson was held to six points in the first half but came on in the second half to finish with a team-high 16 points. White contributed 14 and Landry six. “We didn’t shoot well in the first quarter,” Hahnville head coach Earl Oestreicher said. “The game plan was to slow them down and not let them get on a run. I thought we did a good job defensively, we just shouldn’t get a shot to go down. Their pressure wore us down as the game went on.” East St. John travels to Destrehan Tuesday while Hahnville travels to John Ehret Monday for a non-district game.