Wildcats stop Spartans in Gonzales

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 23, 2010



GONZALES — It was only about a year ago that East St. John’s boys’ basketball team rolled into district play without the most impressive overall won-loss record. It didn’t matter. The Wildcats turned up their play and finished with the first outright district championship in team history.

Could history repeat itself already?

So far, so good for the Wildcats, who began District 6-5A play this week with two convincing district wins: over St. Amant in Reserve on Tuesday, 66-40; and at East Ascension on Friday night, 72-60.

Kaylon Placide led ESJ (10-12, 2-0) with 13 points. D’haquille Williams scored 10 and Patrick Gales scored nine.

The Wildcats led East Ascension (16-8, 0-2) by four at halftime on Friday night but ran out to as much as a 16-point advantage in the third quarter.

From there, the Spartans never came any closer than eight.

“We played solid defense and our big kids played really well,” said East St. John coach Yussef Jasmine. “We worked it inside. They really only play six kids, and their big man got in foul trouble.”

Jasmine said that East Ascension boasts a similar team to its strong unit last season, and noted that a win on the Spartans’ home court carries some extra weight.

“When you play a team that’s so well-coached and sound in what they do, if you can somehow win in their gym, in that environment, it speaks well of you,” said Jasmine. “Our kids are growing up.”

East St. John led St. Amant by eight at halftime on Tuesday, but it was the third quarter again which ultimately decided things.

The Wildcats extended their lead to 55-32 after holding the Gators to only five points in the period, and ESJ coasted from there to a win in front of their home crowd.

Patrick Gales scored 16. LeBaron Sylvester scored 11, and Kody Duhe added nine.

“Defensively, we dominated that game,” said Jasmine. “We caused a bunch of turnovers.”

If they can continue to play like this, East St. John might add another district championship banner to the newly named “Troy C. Giordano Memorial Gym.”

“I can see it being similar to last year,” said Jasmine. “The thing about it is, me being out this season affected us. They missed me, I missed them. We’re back working together now. We keep getting better. These kids believe in me and I believe in them.”