Joseph’s 14 and big second quarter leads Rams to win

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 9, 2005


Sports Editor

RESERVE-It’s all but clinched for the West St. John boys basketball team now.

Taking control of district 10-2A, the Rams took an official two-game lead on their nearest competitor Friday night when they defeated Riverside on the road 63-58.

Juan Joseph led the Rams with 14 points and Kevin Wright had nine. Dana Stipe also added nine with the victory.

Riverside was led by the duo of Chris Fontenot and Josh Labiche. Fontenot had a game-high 23 points and Labiche finished with 21 points.

With the win, the Rams improve to 19-2 on the season and 6-0 in district play.

Riverside falls to 18-8 on the season and 4-2 in district play.

Rams head coach Antoine Edwards was happy with his team’s performance in the first half against Riverside, but was not happy with their energy and intensity in the second half.

“We came out and played really well to start the game off,” Edwards said. “We played tough defense and got a lot of quality looks. The second half we just came out and got crazy.

“We just started missing free throws and layups and throwing balls away. We nearly blew a 15-point lead. Riverside never quit.”

Not officially declared district champions, Edwards said he believes his team is in the driver’s seat for the championship.

“I’m not going to say that yet,” Edwards said of his team clinching the district title. “We have a tough game against Redeemer-Seton. They played us really well when we went to New Orleans.

“I have a feeling that we are going to win the district, but I don’t want to jump ahead of things.”

Edwards said his team was lucky to still come out on top after their shaky second half performance.

“We came out and scored the first possession of the third quarter,” Edwards said. “But after that we just seemed to lose our intensity. We just started to play bad.

“There were several situations where we should have been making good passes we were making bad passes. We started throwing balls away. We were running up and down the floor like we were losing. I kept telling our guys that we were winning. We don’t need to be trying to force anything.”

However, when it mattered the most and came down to crunch time, Edwards said his team still was able to step up and make the big defensive stop when it was needed.

“I thought when Riverside made their run, I thought we came up with good defensive pressure,” Edwards said. “We forced them to turn the ball over three or four times in key possessions. I thought that was a big plus down the stretch.”

Despite allowing a combined 44 points from Fontenot and Labiche, the Rams Head Coach was pleased with his team’s defensive effort against the top two leading scorers from Riverside.

“They both had big scoring nights but if you really look at it, we contained them in the first half,” Edwards said. “They did really come up big in the second half. They are two really talented ballplayers.”