Wildcats take split from Natchitoches tourney

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 2, 2008


Sports Editor

East St. John split four games as last week’s Natchitoches Central tournament, setting the Wildcats at 3-3 on the season.

ESJ defeated Tioga and Mansfield but fell to Captain Shreve and Washington-Marion.

Three Wildcats scored in double figures in ESJ’s first game last Tuesday, a 69-49 win over Tiogia.

Kalen Henderson scored 13, Malcom Lago scored 11 and Perry Mason, Jr. scored 10 in a game that the Wildcats controlled from the start. ESJ outscored Tioga (5-5) 18-4 in the opening quarter, and held the Indians to four points well into the second quarter.

“We were able to turn them over a lot with our pressure,” said ESJ coach Yussef Jasmine. “We’ve got a lot of speed so we want to put that kind of pressure on everyone without gambling and giving up easy buckets.”

East St. John led 53-42 after three quarters and pushed the lead to 20 in the fourth,

Later that night, Lago scored 16 and Kaylon Placide added 11, but it wasn’t enough to best Captain Shreve, which took a 53-50 win.

With the Wildcats down by two, a turnover with 50 seconds left East St. John with no choice but to foul, and the Gators (3-5) were able to tuck the win away from there.

“We didn’t turn it over a ton,” said Jasmine, “but when we did, it came at crucial times.”

A day earlier, East St. John again began with a win, taking a 66-38 win over Mansfield in which the Wildcats outscored the Wolverines (0-4) 35-16 in the second half to pull away.

Henderson scored 14 to lead the way. Kelth Cameron scored 12. Malcom Lago scored 11 and Kyron Gray added eight.

But defense was the key to the win. ESJ forced 19 Mansfield turnovers, and when the Wolverines got into the lane, the 6’8 Cameron blocked and altered shots.

“The kids have the right mindset on defense. They played extremely well,” said Jasmine.

Later that night, Washington-Marion took a 15-point halftime lead on its way to an 81-67 victory over ESJ.

Lago scored 19. Mason scored 11 and Brandon Robinson added nine.

“They just made more plays than we did,” said Jasmine. “We were in position to get a few steals, make a few baskets and we didn’t deliver. They hit three 3-pointers in transition (to pull away).”