Ladycats split four at Hoopfest tourney

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009



East St. John’s girls basketball team competed in the St. Thomas More Hoopfest tournament last week and came away with a split, two wins and two losses.

“I thought we were up and down,” said East St. John coach Jackson Manuel. “We played very, very well in spurts. Then there were times when the bottom fell out.”

The Wildcats began play with a convincing victory over Kaplan, 44-26.

The second quarter proved to be the deciding factor, as ESJ turned up the heat defensively and held Kaplan to a single point, outscoring it 18-1 to take a 24-7 lead at halftime.

The Wildcats’ Wanisha Creecy scored 16 to lead all scorers. Kanitra Lee added 12.

The roles were reversed against St. Thomas More, as the hosts outscored the Ladycats 17-4 in the third quarter to take complete control of the game. STM led 40-19 entering the fourth quarter and ESJ never recovered.

Lee scored nine to lead the way for ESJ.

Manuel called his team’s 39-33, double overtime win over Chapelle as its best effort this season.

Defensively, the Wildcats allowed the Chipmunks no points in the fourth quarter as they erased an eight-point deficit. In the second overtime, ESJ outscored Chapelle 9-3 to notch the win.

“We did a really good job in our man to man defense, and we didn’t do little silly things like reaching in,” said Manuel. “It’s what I’d love to see every night.”

Creecy scored 17 to lead the Wildcats to victory.

Even though ESJ never scored in double figures in any period, Manuel said he thought his team looked as polished as it has all season offensively in the win.

“We ran our offense very well, even though the results didn’t necessarily show it,” said Manuel. “Our execution was very good.”

The final game of the tournament, against St. Louis, was a carbon copy of the St. Thomas More loss for ESJ. St. Louis led by nine at halftime before expanding its lead to 18 after jumping out to a 15-4 third quarter scoring advantage.

“I thought we ran out of gas. It was our second game in a day, three hours apart,” said Manuel. “We just weren’t crisp in the second and third quarters. In the fourth, we caught a second wind, but it was too late.

“I think we’re growing, though. We’ll be fine if we keep improving. This team is still young.”

Korielle Tucker led ESJ with 13 points. Chardey Johnson added 11.