New Iberia topples Ladycats in bi-district round
Published 12:00 am Friday, February 15, 2008
By RYAN ARENA
Few teams were entering the postseason on the kind of hot streak that East St. John’s been on. The Ladycats were 6-1 in their final seven games, with its only loss in that stretch coming to No. 9 ranked Dutchtown.
But it’s been an up and down season for ESJ’s young team. That stretch was one of its peaks. But a valley came at the worst time on Thursday night, as the No. 19 seeded Wildcats fell to No. 14 New Iberia in a bi-district playoff game, 63-36, ending their season.
“Across the board, this was a bad effort,” said East St. John coach Troy Giordano. “We weren’t aggressive at all. They killed us on the boards. They shot well, we shot poorly. That basically sums the game up right there.”
That lack of aggressiveness was manifested in the disparity in free-throw attempts. New Iberia attempted 27 foul shots, while East St. John only attempted eight.
East St. John (23-14) fell behind in the first half, trailing 31-18 at halftime. This came despite the Wildcats holding Yellow Jackets guard G.G. Williams, a signee with the Cincinnati Bearcats, to four first half points.
“If you’re down 13 at the half when she’s only got four points, then you’ve got problems,” said Giordano.
Williams would end up with 11 points, one of four New Iberia (22-12) players to score in double digits.
The Wildcats were twice able to cut the Yellow Jackets’ lead to one, once in the second quarter, and once in the third.
Each time, New Iberia surged ahead with a 10-0 run. The second time, it would put East St. John down for good.
“We just couldn’t get over the hump,” said Giordano.
New Iberia outscored East St. John 17-5 in the final quarter.
Halle Lennix led the Wildcats with 14 points. Mechel’le Thomas added eight.
The Wildcats’ run at the end of the regular season allowed East St. John to extend its run of consecutive postseason appearances to 13, after the Wildcats started district play 1-3.
But it was also an example of what Giordano said was an inconsistency that’s plagued his team from the time it was 8-7 in the early portion of the year.
“After that, we made a great run, then dug a hole for ourselves in district,” he said. “Then we made another big run. On any given night, this team was capable of beating anyone in the state. By the same token, we were capable of losing to anyone in the state.”
While it’s an earlier exit than the Wildcats are used to, the future is bright: eight underclassman return next year, including five who were freshman this season.
“The kids rallied late in the year. We’ve very young, and it was a good year overall,” said Giordano. “But you just have to play with more consistency, especially in the playoffs.”