Destrehan survives ESJ run push

Published 12:00 am Friday, January 25, 2008


Sports Editor

Through two district road games, East St. John has come oh-so-close to pulling off victories each time – but have come up just short in the end.

Such was the case on Tuesday night, when East St. John overcame an 11-point deficit after three quarters to pull within one, after a Jamaan Kenner 3-pointer made it 53-52.

But Destrehan made the plays it had to make to defend its home court down the stretch. Key baskets by Tim Molton, Dwayne Brown and Robert Flowers extended the Destrehan lead to 61-55 with 1:28 remaining. It would hold on for a 66-60 win over the rival Wildcats.

Destrehan (20-8, 2-1) needed the victory to stay in the upper half of the District 6-5A standings, after a loss in four overtimes at St. Amant on Friday night.

Destrehan Coach Todd Bourg praised his team’s effort, but felt that a number of key mistakes by his team could have cost it the win.

“It was an ugly win,” said Bourg. “We played hard, but we didn’t keep our spacing and made too many mistakes. The effort was there to make up the difference.

“It’s one of those River Parish rivalries. The kids get up for it, play their butts off, but sometimes we get too excited and forget our responsibilities.”

Destrehan has now won five of its last six games.

(See WILDCATS on Page 10A)

For East St. John (10-15, 1-2), which also suffered a tough overtime loss at St. Amant a week prior, it was the second close road loss in district play.

“Everyone’s got to do their part to turn it around for next time,” said ESJ center Kelth Cameron. “We’re playing more like a team right now than we were earlier this season, which is a big difference for us.”

Foul shooting was an issue for East St. John, which shot 14-25 from the line in the game.

“They made their free throws, we didn’t,” said East St. John Coach Yussef Jasmine. “In a game like that, in front of a packed gym, you have to make free throws and limit your turnovers.”

Jasmine noted that his Wildcats didn’t turn the ball over in high volumes, just at key times.

One such time was at the end of the first half. A Josh Johnson 3-pointer and a Kenner dunk leading to a three-point play capped a 11-2 East St. John run that had them leading 27-18 near the end of the second quarter.

But a defensive flurry by Destrehan forced a number of critical turnovers that led to Wildcat points. Molton, Flowers, Brown and Roosevelt Johnson all scored to draw within one at halftime, where ESJ led 31-30.

(See WILDCATS, Page 11A)

Destrehan led by six in the third quarter, when a hard foul was called on Kenner during a Molton drive to the basket. Molton made both free throws and Destrehan converted the basket on the ensuing possession to lead 45-38. A Molton 3-pointer to end the period left Destrehan leading 48-37.

But ESJ stormed back in the fourth quarter, when buckets by Kenner, Malcom Lago, Johnson and Bryce Robertson propelled a 15-5 run to draw within one.

Molton led Destrehan with 21 points. Johnson scored 13 and Flowers added nine.

Josh Johnson’s 20 led East St. John. Kenner added 12 and Robertson and Lago each scored nine.

Jasmine said that his team would work hard to turn the negatives into positives in regards to the tough losses on the road.

“We’ll use both as building experiences,” said Jasmine. “Against St. Amant, some tough calls went our way. Tonight, we made things hard on ourselves. But it’s a stepping stone to make us better.”

As for Bourg, he acknowledged that little seems to ever come easy in District 6-5A play.

“There are no nights off in this district,” Bourg said.