Gators’ OT streak continues against Wildcats

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 6, 2008


Sports Editor

St. Amant seems to have a taste for playing bonus basketball. The Gators seem to have a knack for how to get it done in overtime, too.

Unfortunately for East St. John, the Wildcats have learned this too well in 2008.

St. Amant won notched its third overtime district win on Friday night, coming back from a 10-point halftime deficit to topple host East St. John, 70-66.

St. Amant defeated East St. John 78-76 in overtime on Jan. 15 at St. Amant in the 6-5A district opener for each team. Then the Gators toppled Destrehan 92-88 after four overtimes.

And now, their third overtime win moves them into sole possession of third place in a crowded 6-5A playoff race.

“I felt that at the end of the game, we didn’t execute. We let them hang around, and our guys were trying too hard not to mess up,” said East St. John Coach Yussef Jasmine. “As a result, we made some bad turnovers. It was the difference.”

Roshaun Claiborne scored 24 points to lead St. Amant. Jermoine Lewis added 18, and Brandon Morris scored 16.

Kalen Placide scored 15 to lead the Wildcats. Kelth Cameron scored 13, and Malcom Lago notched 11.

The Wildcats led 14-7 after a quarter and 32-22 at halftime.

But the Gators’ shooting touch was refined in the second half, as they outscored ESJ 40-30 to tie the game at 62 at the end of regulation.

In overtime, the teams traded baskets before the first of two critical East St. John turnovers in the period.

St. Amant took a 66-64 after capitalizing on the turnover with a basket. After each team notched a defensive stop, the Wildcats turned it over again, with the same result, and the Gators led 68-64.

From there, St. Amant held on for victory.

The turning point might have come in the first half, if not on the scoreboard, then in the foul department. Four Wildcats starters drew two fouls relatively early, which limited their minutes.

East St. John’s had chances to win in all four of its district losses. Jasmine says the time for his team to dwell on that is already gone: his team is in a corner.

“Now, if we want to make the playoffs, we have to win out,” said Jasmine. “Maybe you can make it as a fourth place wildcard. But as a coach, I don’t want to rely on that. The bottom line is, we have to suck it up and win our remaining games.”