Eagles power past Wildcat rally

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 12, 2008


Sports Editor

Despite a fourth quarter 3-point shooting barrage by East St. John, Reserve Christian held on for an 80-73 victory over their cross town foes at East St. John.

The Eagles led by nine at the beginning of the fourth quarter and had to be at their offensive peak to hold off a Wildcats (4-5) team that hit eight 3-pointers in the quarter, including five by Kaylon Placide, who scored a game-high 29 points.

“We’ve come out with a lot of energy in the last two years (at East St. John) and watched them get back in the game,” said Reserve’s Cedric Jenkins, who scored nine of his 28 points in the fourth quarter. “So I wasn’t getting too excited when we got off to a good start. I knew it was more important for us to finish strong.”

Reserve (17-1) scored 27 points in the fourth quarter, seemingly having an answer for each Wildcats score.

“Our players have been in these situation many times before,” said Reserve Christian Coach Timmy Byrd. “They just know how to win games.”

Chris Roussell scored 16 for RCS. Ed Gallina added 14.

Malcom Lago dropped in 18 for East St. John.

Roussell began the fourth quarter by scoring four quick points to put the Eagles ahead 57-44. Placide hit his first 3-pointer of the quarter, but Cedric Jenkins answered with a bucket underneath.

But Placide kept shooting. His second three cut the lead to eight, 61-53. But Jenkins continued to be a riddle for the Wildcat defense, slashing to the basket to finish or draw fouls. He rattled off the next six Eagle points, making it 67-55.

With a little over three minutes left, a reverse layup by Louis Dabney put Reserve ahead by 14, 72-58. Back to back 3-pointers by LeBaron Sylvester and Placide would soon cut the lead to 10, 74-64. But an answer came from Gallina, who drilled a 3-pointer from the wing to make it 77-64, giving the Eagles enough of a cushion to hold on — in spite of four more ESJ 3-pointers in the final two minutes.

“I just had more confidence to shoot it in the second half,” said Placide. “We were a little off defensively. We need to step that up.”

Without the services of center Ricardo Gathers, the Eagles employed a 2-3 zone to negate the Wildcats size advantage, specifically ESJ’s 6’8 center Kelth Cameron, the biggest player on the floor.

“We got into foul trouble early. Ed Gallina picked up two quick fouls,” said Byrd. “We had to go to the zone, pack the middle and make them shoot from the outside. It did a good job, until 21 (Placide) started drilling shots.”

Reserve established control early in the game, beginning the contest on a 10-2 run. A Gallina lauyp made it 14-4, as the Eagles were getting out in transition early and often for easy buckets.

East St. John responded with a 16-7 run that extended into the second quarter. Placide ended the first quarter with a 3-pointer to make it 21-16, then Lago converted off of a pretty move to cut the Reserve advantage to three. Cameron scored a fast break bucket to make it 21-20.

That was as close as East St. John would get. Jenkins hit a jumper, then scored in transition to put the Eagles up five. Roussell scored to make it 27-20. East St. John missed opportunities to score underneath on consecutive possessions, and Franklin Francois drilled a three from the wing.

Jenkins capped an 11-0 Eagles run by converting a layup on a strong drive to the basket.

“We want to be able to make a statement that we can compete with anyone,” said Jenkins. “And that has to start locally, in your own