West St. John comes up short in Class 2A final

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 16, 2005


Sports Editor

LAFAYETTE-The streak finally came to an end for West St. John.

One of the hottest teams in the state, regardless of classification, the Rams were defeated in the 2A state championship game by Jeanerette, 61-60, Saturday night in the Cajundome in Lafayette.

West St. John was going for their second state championship in five years. The Rams had last taken home the state boy’s basketball title in 2000.

Denarold Anderson led the Rams with 14 points and Kevin Wright had 12 points in the losing effort.

The loss ends a phenomenal 2004-05 season for the Rams. Losing to only 5A state runners-up Thibodaux twice and Jeanerette, West St. John finished the season 27-3, one of the best records in the entire state of Louisiana.

Never able to gain control of the game and build a big lead, the Rams were outscored 14-10 in the second quarter and 21-17 in the third quarter by Jeanerette and spent the entire fourth quarter trying to come back as opposed to trying to maintain their usual big lead that they had developed against opponents throughout the regular and post-season to-date.

“We just ran out of time,” a disappointed West St. John Head Coach Antoine Edwards said. “I have said all season in order for us to win a state championship we would have to play well. We would have to play well defensively and of course free throw shooting.

“When you look at the breakdown of the game, we got into early foul trouble that threw off our rhythm with the team. I thought free throw shooting hurt us, we just did not shoot the ball well from the free throw line and at some point or another we were just not there defensively. We had defensive breakdowns”.

Despite his team’s inability to play well, Edwards said they still had a chance to come away with the victory against a very tough Jeanerette squad.

“We still had our chances to win the ballgame,” Edwards said. “We fell down by three with about two minutes left and we didn’t get a shot to fall. We hit a big three when time was running out.

“But like I have said throughout, we needed to play defensively well which we didn’t do 100-percent. We didn’t shoot well from the perimeter, we didn’t shoot free throws well and all that was the main reasons we didn’t win the championship.”

Edwards said his Rams squad was not used to having to come back from deficits so late in the game and that unfamiliarity may have been a major contributing factor in the Rams third and final defeat of the 2004-05 season.

“When we look at our situation, we had never been down that much this season,” Edwards said. “I thought that was a factor, but I told the kids at halftime that the situation we were in with all the early foul troubles to our starters, we were only down by four points.

“I told them that was a blessing that we were only down four. I kept telling them that if we could maintain our consistency and come back and play well in the second half, we had a chance of winning. When you look at all the things that went against us, we still had our fair share of chances of winning the ballgame.”

Edwards did say that he is extremely proud of his team and the effort that they put forth in practice and the games throughout the 2004-05 season.

“Of course I’m proud,” Edwards said. “I couldn’t be any prouder. You can’t take away anything from these kids. When you look at the record that we had and you go 27-3 overall and you lose two games to a good Thibodaux team that lost in the championship to Brother Martin and you lose to a team like Jeanerette, you have got to be proud of the kids.

“We are exceptionally proud of the kids over here at West St. John.”