Wildcats fall to Tigers

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 4, 2009


Sports Editor

East St. John brought a lot of momentum into Thibodaux on Friday night, but the host Tigers proved to be a bit too much for the Wildcats to handle.

Thibodaux (26-6) outscored ESJ 54-33 in the second half to post a 90-70 victory over the Wildcats, ending the season of the only outright district champion in East St. John history.

“After losses, I’ve never really been one to say I’m proud of this or that,” said ESJ coach Yussef Jasmine. “But this time, I had to let our guys know that they had a great year. This team made school history.”

While the Wildcats (19-14) specialized in taking away the best scorer of its opposition this season, the team simply couldn’t stop Thibodaux’s Shavon Coleman, who exploded for 37 points to lead all scorers. Trovon Reed added 18.

Malcom Lago led East St. John with 14 points.

LeBaron Sylvester scored 13 for ESJ, including three 3-pointers. Lucas Martin scored 11.

Midway through the third quarter, the game was very competitive. ESJ led by three after the first quarter and by one at halftime.

With 6:23 left in the third, the teams were tied at 42.

But that’s when Thibodaux began to force the tempo, pushing  the gas pedal down to the floor.

“They sped the game up, and we got caught up in their style,” said Jasmine.

“We can run, but in a more controlled way. We began turning it over, and they’re scoring as we do that.”

It negated East St. John’s halfcourt defense, and Thibodaux began to push the lead in front of its home fans. It outscored ESJ 24-11 to end the third quarter, and pushed its 12 point lead to 20 with a little under six minutes left in the fourth. ,

“They came at us with five guards,” said Jasmine. “The guy our big man (Kelth Cameron) was guarding made a couple of shots from the outside.

“All of a sudden, they started to gain confidence.”

And as that happened, the Thibodaux crowd came alive.

The Tiger players weren’t oblivious to that fact.

“It’s a different atmosphere in the playoffs,” Jasmine said. “As the crowd got into it, (Thibodaux) started to play hungry, and they started to play a lot faster.”