Lady Cats fall to Dominican in Sweet 16 state semifinals

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 3, 2004

By GEORGE MAHL – Sports Editor

HAMMOND – The 2003-2004 East St. John Lady Cat basketball team enjoyed a regular season that any team in the country would have loved. They were easily defeating teams as they went along. Moreover, they posted an incredible 40-1 record heading into the semifinal game against Dominican.

With East St. John leading through three periods, Dominican went on to outscore the Lady Cats 20-7 in the fourth quarter and earn a birth in the finals with a 51-42 victory.

East St. John Head Coach Troy Giordano was none to pleased with the officiating afterward.

“The bottom line is that Mac Chauvin and Tommy Henry (LHSAA Commissioner) should be absolutely ashamed of themselves for allowing these referees on the court. They did not let us play at all,” Giordano said.

What Giordano was most upset about what the fact that the Lady Cats were called for traveling 18 times.

“When you have 18 travels, how the hell can you play?”

With the Lady Cats leading 37-35, Dominican forward Nicole Leonard nailed a jumper to tie the game 37-37 with 4:37 left to play. A three-point shot from Nikita Robertson put the Lady Cats up by three, 40-37.

Unfortuantly for ESJ, that would be the last points they would score for a while. Dominican went on to outscore the Lady Cats 14-1 during the final four minutes of the game. Leonard’s three-pointer gave Dominican its first lead of the game, 41-40.

It was a battle early on, with East St. John holding a slim lead at all times.

After DHS forward Annie Ciulla hit two foul shots to start the second quarter, Lady Cats guard Nikita Robertson hit back-to-back 3-pointers to give East St. John a 19-11 lead with 6:06 remaining in the first half.

Dominican responded with a 6-0 spurt to cut the Lady Cats lead to 19-17 with 4:03 remaining until halftime.

Robertson responded with her third consecutive three-point shot, giving ESJ a 22-17 lead with under two minutes until halftime. Dominican was a perfect eight of eight from the foul line in the second quarter.

In all, Dominican attempted 30 foul shots to East St. John’s nine, two of which happened in the remaining seconds of the game.

The Lady Cats star players, Kojo Hamilton and Erin Keller, both fouled out in the fourth quarter.

“How can you do anything when one of your starters plays seven or eight minutes because of fouls?” said Giordano.

Robertson led the Lady Cats in scoring with 13 points.

Ciulla led Dominican with 17 points in the victory.