Lady Wildcats claw out a win

Published 12:00 am Sunday, January 20, 2002


DESTREHAN – It was a classic tale of two undefeated rival teams, playing before a full house and needing overtime to decide a victor.

After almost an hour of playing time and more than an hour overall, the East St. John girls’ team continued on with no losses and a 62-57 win over Destrehan.

At the end of regulation playing time, the lead changes resulted in the teams coming to a tie at 55 points. Both teams scored on their first possessions of overtime, setting another tie at 57 points. The determining points lit the scoreboard after East St. John’s Erin Keller completed three of her six free throws.

Up three points, 60-57, the Wildcats moved to a full-court press, forcing back-to-back turnovers, returning one for a lay-up and the final two points. Keller ended the night with a total of 22 points, second in scoring to teammate Kojavona Hamilton, who made 25 points.

“It was a great game and a great win,” said East St. John coach Troy Giordano. “It’s just a shame somebody had to lose.”

This was the second time these teams have gone into overtime this season. Destrehan lost both games, with their first against Ehret by only two points. East St. John played into overtime against a team from Hancock, Miss. and won 60-56.

With both teams taking to the court unbeaten in their previous six district games, Giordano said he knew the game would be tough.

“Both teams played very hard, I hope this game sparks us the rest of the season,” he added.

He said he told his players if they found themselves down, not to panic and if they were up in points, not to let up. He added that the game is about composure and it is who’s standing at the end who takes the win.

The two teams were standing shoulder to shoulder, with the Destrehan team only one point ahead at the half, 32-31. Both teams returned to the court even stronger, with Destrehan outscoring the Wildcats only 12-10.

“Going into the fourth quarter we were down by three and it was getting hairy,” admitted Giordano. “But the adrenaline was flowing so good that no one was tired and neither team was slowing down. It was kind of strange, the kids were all still ready to go and none of them wanted to leave the game.”

The wide-open pace continued the length of the fourth quarter, with East St. John holding back Destrehan’s points and outscoring them to fill in the three-point deficit for the tie.

“The key was holding them back and Courtney Drayton and Jada Mason did a super job on defense against Destrehan’s center. I thought that was the difference in the game,” claimed Giordano.

He said he knew his Wildcats could score the needed points, but the deciding factor was the defense keeping control of Destrehan’s scoring.

East St. John attempted a full-court press at a few points through the game, but Destrehan’s girls handled it well, forcing the Wildcats to switch back to their man-to-man style.