Wildcats begin district play with win over Gators, 63-58

Published 12:00 am Monday, January 26, 2009


Sports Editor

After an 11-day break, East St. John was rested and ready to go in its district opener against St. Amant on Tuesday. It showed.

ESJ trailed at the half but rallied to capture a 63-58 win over St. Amant in the District 6-5A opener for both teams.

“It feels real good (to win the first district game),” said Coach Yussef Jasmine. “Especially when you play some of the top teams in the state in this district. But we played well. I knew we would.”

The Gators (16-7, 0-1) led 29-25 at halftime, but East St. John (11-12, 1-0) outscored St. Amant 38-29 in the second half.

Malcom Lago led the Wildcats with 20 points. Kelth Cameron scored 12, and Kaylon Placide added 11. Seven Wildcats scored in all.

St. Amant’s Rashaun Claiborne led all scorers with 25.

Claiborne’s big night was about the only major thing that went wrong for ESJ.

“We wanted to keep their two-guard in check, he’s a pretty good player. We wanted to take their point guard out of the game. And we wanted to keep (Claiborne) off the boards,” said Jasmine. “(Claiborne) got his, but we were able to accomplish the other two things. We knew if we did that, we’d be in it.” Jasmine said the team’s defensive play was a major key in the second half, particularly when ESJ made a push to take the lead midway through the third quarter.

“The defense really stepped it up in the second half,” Jasmine said. “After that, we didn’t really trail.”