Late Dutchtown surge foils Ladycats, secures district crown

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 8, 2008


Sports Editor

Since losing to Dutchtown on a buzzer-beater back on Jan. 18, East St. John’s left five opponents in its wake, winning in decisive fashion and giving the Ladycats a chance to control its own playoff destiny.

When it came time for the Wildcats to lock horns with the Griffins again on Monday, East St. John had payback on its mind – a chance to stop Dutchtown from clinching the District 6-5A championship on its senior night.

While there would be no last second heroics this time, the result was the same. The Griffins remained undefeated in 6-5A, winners of a 57-45 decision at Dutchtown along with the district title.

“They brought more enthusiasm than we did. They deserved the win,” said East St. John Coach Troy Giordano. “I’d have hoped we’d bring a little more enthusiasm than we did. They outhustled us.”

The Wildcats remain in third place in 6-5A, a game ahead of fourth place East Ascension, who fell to Hahnville on Wednesday night.

A Wildcats win over rival Destrehan last night (after press time) would have clinched a playoff berth for East St. John.

With the Wildcats’ playmaking point guard Mechel’le Thomas sidelined for much of the first half with foul trouble, East St. John was still able to hang around.

Dutchtown led by one after a quarter and 21-17 at halftime.

In the second half, Thomas made her splash. The two-time All-State guard scored all 23 of her points after halftime, which accounted for most of ESJ’s 28 second half points.

The Wildcats trailed by only one after three quarters, 34-33. It looked like the game would once again go down to the wire.

But foul trouble again bit East St. John, this time along its front line. Both center Christin Hildreth and forward Brittany Stemley fouled out of the game, allowing Dutchtown to go to work underneath.

Griffins’ forward Christine Conner scored 14 of her 26 points in the fourth quarter, as the Wildcats defense lacked its usual inside strength.

“That was deadly to us,” said Giordano. “They killed us in the post after those two fouled out. It was the difference.”

Dutchtown broke the game open, outscoring East St. John 23-12 in the final period.

Laci Dent scored eight for East St. John, while Stemley finished with seven.