Wildcats skinned late in overtime loss to Cox
Published 12:00 am Monday, December 4, 2006
ESJ, Eagles set to play Tuesday at Reserve Christian
By JOHNNY PEPPO
RESERVE – Helen Cox’s Cougar basketball squad left the East St. John gym Tuesday still undefeated on the season, but they looked anything but perfect through three quarters of play in their non-district 74-68 overtime victory over the Wildcats.
ESJ, on the other hand, would still be perfect if not for a handful of missed scoring opportunities.
“We outplayed them for 30 minutes,” said Wildcat head coach Charles Julien after the game. “It got tight there in the end and it got just a little too far away from us in overtime. But I saw the character in this team. And I like that.”
He likely enjoyed what he saw out of his team on both sides of the ball as they were up against a Cougar squad that featured one of the top rated prospects in the state in 6’10 center Greg Monroe, who ESJ limited to 14 points. The Wildcat’s Trenton Marshall stole the show though, going for a game high 27 points and a handful of clutch steals and assists to propel his team to a fast start.
That start included a quick 18-7 run for the Wildcats in the first quarter, one that the Wildcats would maintain for the better part of the first and second halves. Cox got back into it with a run late and a slight lead in the third until ESJ pressed to retake the momentum heading into the fourth.
So it all boiled down to the final two minutes of the game as the Cougars whittled down their deficit to three points. Cox tied it up with less than two minutes to go and the two squads traded blows down to the final :30 of regulation. Several missed free throws from the line by East St. John left it a two point game in the waning moments and the Cougars managed to tie it up with just two seconds to go on a frantic putback by Cox’s Calvin Thompson.
In overtime, Cox pulled ahead after ESJ could muster only a basket and secured the Cougar win with a pressing defense that forced turnovers on the Wildcat’s final three possessions. The dagger came with less than twenty seconds remaining as Marshall went up for a three pointer to tie, but was stripped of the ball as he pulled up for the shot. That resulted in a fast break that put Cox back at the line, for the go-ahead score and a four point lead shot for a four point lead. The second one rimmed out and a desperation three pointer by ESJ’s ______ fell short as he tried to draw the foul.
The Wildcat’s Jamaan Kenner recorded __ points in the effort while ______ added __.
The loss was the first for the Wildcats this season, though they gave themselves every opportunity to win with double teams and a defense that restricted Monroe throughout by matching him up with ESJ’s _____, _____ and Marshall. If not for the missed free throws late in the game, along with two missed dunks and a couple of missed lay-ups in the first half, the Wildcats would have been in prime position to pick up their eighth win in eight games. Instead, ESJ stands at 7-1 on the season, having gotten their seventh win last Saturday in a __-__ win over Fountainbleu. Marshall led all scorers in that game as well with __ points.
Coming up, the Wildcats will head right down the road to take on the Class C defending state champion Reserve Christian Eagles in an all-St. John Parish showdown. The Eagles now stand at 6-6 on the season after having opened with four wins in their first five games. But Reserve Christian has been playing for more than a month already, while the Wildcats season schedule began just about two weeks ago.