Kenner scores 18 as ESJ rolls to victory over Dutchtown, 78-60

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 22, 2008


Sports Editor

On Tuesday, East St. John narrowly missed picking up its first district victory when the Wildcats fell in overtime at St Amant.

The Wildcats wouldn’t miss that, or much of anything else in their next opportunity.

Jamaan Kenner scored 18 points to lead host East St. John as it defeated Dutchtown on Friday night, 78-60.

The Wildcats (10-14, 1-1) outscored the Griffins 22-9 in the first quarter to seize early control of the game. Then, East St. John put it away from good when it outscored Dutchtown (7-14, 0-2) 31-14 in the third quarter behind a field-goal shooting barrage.

“We came out focused, hit our shots, and put it away early,” said Kenner.

In the days since the loss to St. Amant, in which a potential game winning 3-pointer by the Wildcats’ Bryce Robertson was ruled to have come a split-second after the buzzer, East St. John Coach Yussef Jasmine has stressed consistency for four quarters to his team – in his words, “dominating a game from start to finish.”

Consider that message received, if Friday’s game was any indication. Four Wildcats scored in double digits, including Kenner, Malcom Lago (13 points), Josh Johnson (11) and Robertson (11). The quartet helped power the Wildcats to its fourth win in six contests.

After struggling offensively for much of the first two months of the year, East St. John topped 75 points for the third time in five games.

“We’re doing well working from the inside out on offense,” said Jasmine. “(Center Kelth Cameron) isn’t scoring the big numbers on the stat sheet, but his presence is making it easier for everyone else.

“When he plays well, I think nine out of 10 times we’re going to win the game.”

The offense wasn’t all that clicked, as the Wildcats may have been even more locked in defensively.

“Our defensive pressure was so good tonight. It’s what carried us,” said Jasmine.

Thomas Jackson led Dutchtown in scoring with 20 points.

Dutchtown had closed within nine in the third quarter when East St. John delivered the knockout blow. A basket by Lago preceded two consecutive 3-pointers by Robertson and Johnson. It made it 48-31, and took the Griffins out of striking distance.

From there, the Wildcats finished the quarter on a 15-7 run to lead 63-38 entering the fourth quarter.

The loss was Dutchtown’s third loss in four games after winning three straight to close out 2007.

“We knew that especially at home, we had to get this one,” said Kenner. “We didn’t want to lose the first one here. Only three (from District 6-5A) make the playoffs. After tonight, we have to push even harder.”