Fourth quarter collapse dooms East St. John Thibodeaux

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 14, 2005

Thibodaux outscores Wildcats 23-11 in final quarter to advance to state championship


Sports Editor

LAFAYETTE-When you play a team four times in the same season, there are not many surprises.

However, Thibodaux did give East St. John a surprise that ended up concluding the Wildcats season.

Trailing for most of the game, the Tigers went on a 14-5 run in the final 4:55 of the fourth quarter to defeat East St. John, 70-62, in the state semifinals in Lafayette Tuesday night.

Concluding their high school basketball careers, Willie Lago and Ryan Perilloux led East St. John with 18 points a piece. Also playing in his final game in a Wildcat uniform, Ryan Stipe had 10 points.

Leading 51-47 heading into the fourth quarter, it seemed as though the Wildcats were heading to their first-ever state championship game. However, the Tigers dominated the final quarter, outscoring East St. John 23-11 to advance to take on Brother Martin tonight at 8:30 for the Class 5A title.

“The first three quarters I felt like we controlled the game,” a disappointed Charles Julian said. “I thought we controlled the tempo. I thought the game was going our way.”

“They (Thibodaux) went on a 14-5 run the final five minutes in the fourth, but the key was that they were able to get to the free throw line a lot more than us. I can’t take anything away from Thibodeaux. I thought that they did what they have to do.”

Julian said the Tigers stepped up when they had to the most.

“They played a little tougher than us. They outrebounded us. I felt that was the difference in the ballgame.”

Despite the defeat, Julian said the Wildcats are quietly building a very solid program and will be a major factor in the upcoming seasons in Class 5A.

“This was definitely a stepping stone for this program,” Julian said. “We are going to get better. Our program is going to get better.”

“Our seniors did a great job laying the foundation and now we have talented young players coming in and I think that everyone is going to be surprised of what our program is capable of. I think a lot of people thought that ESJ couldn’t win in basketball. I think we have something good working here and I am excited about what the future is going to be like at East St. John.”