West St. John continues easy march to playoffs

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 20, 2004

By GEORGE MAHL – Sports Editor

RESERVE – The East St. John Lady Cats took their first step toward claiming their first state championship with a relatively easy 62-36 victory over Carencro Thursday night in the Bi-District round of the 5A playoffs.

Kojo Hamilton led the Lady Cats with 18 points.

East St. John will now travel to play Ruston, which will be Monday night at 6pm.

“I thought early on we lacked focus out there early on,” said East St. John Head Coach Troy Giordano. “They (Carencro) are a wild-card team out of a tough district. It is sort of like playing Destrehan.”

Carencro started out playing well against the defending 6-5A champions.

Trailing 10-4, Carencro starter Meredith Adams nailed a jumper, making it 10-6 ESJ with 1:49 left in the first quarter.

However, the Lady Bears had difficultly stopping Hamilton in the first quarter. She score eight of her team’s 14 points in the first quarter.

The end of the first quarter saw ESJ hold a 14-6 lead.

The lead gradually swelled in the second quarter. Leading 19-14 midway through the second quarter, the Lady Cats went on a 5-0 run to hold its biggest lead thus far, 24-14. Hamilton’s 3-point-shot gave the Lady Cats a 10-point lead with 2:20 left until halftime. The second three-pointer of the second quarter, this one from Stasha Thomas, lifted the Lady Cats to a 29-16 lead with 46 seconds left before halftime.

A 7-1 run to open the third quarter gave the Lady Cats a 36-18 lead with 4:45 left in the third quarter.

With about two minutes remaining in the third period, Carencro nailed two consecutive 3-pointers. Although they did little damage as the Lady Cats held a commanding 46-28 lead going into the fourth quarter.

East St. John outscored Carencro 17-11 in the third quarter.

During the fourth quarter, Giordano went to his bench.

A jumper by freshman Crystal Fleming gave the Lady Cats a 50-28 lead with about six minutes remaining in the game. Two consecutive three-pointers gave East St. John a 60-36 lead with 54 seconds left.

In addition to Hamilton, leading scorers for East St. John included Erin Keller (11 points) and Kimijuan Anderson (7 points). Carencro was led by Lauren Tezeno (11 points) and Adrienne Gallien (10 points).

“The best thing was that everyone got to play,” Giordano said. “We gotta hope we can continue to play this type of defense.”