ESJ pulls away from Lady Canes

Published 12:00 am Saturday, February 17, 2001


RESERVE – Higgins threw an early scare into East St. John but the Lady Cats went on a 23-7 lead to end the first half on their way to a 68-55 victory in the Division I bi-district playoffs Thursday night. The victory was the 57th straight at home for East St. John (30-3) and the fifth straight time it has won a bi-district game at home. For the first time in school history, the Lady Cats will host a regional playoff game when they play Warren Easton Monday night. Easton advanced with an 83-30 victory over DeLaSalle Thursday night. Higgins finished at 20-10 on the season. Kinya Lennix led all scorers with 26 points, 18 coming in the first half, for the Lady Cats. Kojavona Hamilton chipped in with 12 points while Erin Keller had eight. Danielle Stemley, Courtney Drayton and Velinda Ard each had six points. Ashley Charles led Higgins with 19 points. Keshawn Carter added 15 points and Teressa Allen 11. “We didn’t play as well as I wanted to tonight,” East St. John head coach Troy Giordano said. “We just didn’t play well defensively. It wasn’t our A’ game. But a win is a win. We go on and play the next round. ” We’ve gone nine days without playing. We didn’t get into a rhythm until the second quarter. I hope it doesn’t happen again. If it happens against a better team, we’re out.” Higgins took advantage of the Lady Cats’ slow start to take a 7-3 lead on a 3-pointer by Allen. East St. John came back to take a 9-7 lead behind two put backs by Ard and two free throws by Hamilton. Drives by Stemley and Lennix, the latter off a steal, gave East St. John a 13-10 lead. But the Lady Canes answered with five straight points to end the quarter, taking a 15-13 lead on a three-point play by Walker. After East St. John tied the game on its opening possession of the second quarter on a jumper by Stemley, Higgins took its final lead on a pass from Tiffany Jones to Charles inside. East St. John then went on a 7-0 run with Drayton giving the Lady Cats a 24-17 lead with a put back with 4:47 left in the half. Higgins twice got the lead down to four, the second time on a put back by Charles. But East St. John began to pull away as Stemley grabbed a steal and fed Hamilton inside and Lacrisha Walker it two free throws. Lennix then took over, hitting a jumper in the lane, then converting a three-point play. After Whitnee Chatman hit the first of two free throws in the final minute, Lennix grabbed miss on the second one and put it back, helping the Lady Cats take a 40-24 lead into the break. East St. John extended that lead to 47-26 with less than 4:30 left in the third quarter on a drive by Lennix. Higgins then went on a 7-0 run, cutting the deficit to 47-33 with 3:15 remaining behind a 3-pointer by Lashon Lambert and a drive by Walker off a steal. But East St. John again answered as Hamilton converted a three-point play on the next possession. Two free throws and a hook shot by Drayton and a put back by Lennix gave the Lady Cats a 58-37 lead going into the fourth quarter. Higgins pulled to within 60-45 with 4:43 left on a put back by Charles. But Lennix came back with two free throws and Keller drove in for a layup, giving the Lady Cats a 66-49 lead.