Ladycats start season 2-1

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 27, 2010



The East St. John girls basketball team got its 2010 campaign off to a strong start, going 2-1 in the John Ehret tournament.

The Wildcats downed St. Charles Catholic and St. Joseph’s while falling to host Ehret.

“I’m pleased with our patience on offense,” said Jackson Manuel, who begins his second year as East St. John head coach. “I think we’re turning it over too much. And our pressure defense has been good but sporadic. When it’s clicking, we’ve been pretty good, but it hasn’t been consistent as of yet. We’re still working.”

East St. John broke its game with the Comets open in the second quarter, outscoring SCC 16-6 to extend a seven point lead after a quarter to 17 at halftime.

Brianne Brown led the Wildcats with 12 points. SCC’s Emily Picciola led all scorers with 14.

It was a second quarter surge that ultimately helped East St. John push St. Joseph’s to overtime. It would take three extra frames to decide things as the Wildcats pulled out a 56-52 win in triple O.T.

The Wildcats outscored St. Joseph’s 17-8 in the second quarter to take a 24-17 lead into the second half, but a 20-point fourth quarter capped a furious comeback for St. Joseph’s. In the overtimes, ESJ outscored St. Joseph’s 10-6.

Kanitra Lee had a big night, scoring 25 points to lead all scorers. Brown scored 12 and Bria Joseph scored 9.

Ehret got out to a big lead thanks to some suffocating defensive play, holding ESJ to three points in the first quarter and just 10 in the entire first half. The Patriots led 34-10 at half and coasted from there.

Brown scored 17 to lead ESJ. Joseph added 15, including a stretch of five three pointers in the fourth quarter.

“(Joseph) started taking shots that she was passing up before,” said Manuel. “She’s been getting better and better. That kind of run builds confidence.”

Tori Scott scored 10 for Ehret.

Manuel praised Brown’s efforts at the tournament, particularly her consistency in adding offensive punch from the front court.

“She’s stepped up real big for us,” said Manuel. “She’s been very focused.”

Meanwhile, Joseph is growing into the point guard role, and Manuel said that if she continues to improve at the pace he’s seen, and Lee can add a consistent scoring punch, that the Wildcats could be a team to watch this season.

“We need a little more consistency from Lee. She had a big night, then two nights where she didn’t get going,” said Manuel. “We need her scoring … if she can do it night after night, and Bria can continue to grow as our point guard, we could be a force to be reckoned with.”