Dabney drives Destrehan past ESJ

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 17, 2012



East St. John coach Jackson Manuel and his Ladycats set out to make anyone but Destrehan’s Jordan Dabney beat them Friday night.

But after a slow start, the DHS point guard got going to guide her team to a 46-38 victory over its District 8-5A rival.

Dabney scored 10 straight Destrehan points at one point in the second half, fueling the game’s defining surge.

“We had to redeem ourselves (after struggling offensively early),” said Dabney. “We couldn’t afford to get frustrated with ourselves after misses. You keep moving forward.”

Manuel said that his team’s plan was to keep Dabney under control, but that a handful of breakdowns gave her all the daylight she’d need.

“We thought Dabney was their best scorer and we wanted to minimize the damage she’d inflict,” said Manuel. “I thought we did a good job for most of the game, but there were some mental lapses. Three or four times, we let her get free. And to her credit, when we did, she came through and hit some big shots. If we eliminate those, we’re talking about a two-point game.”

Dabney scored a game-high 17 points. Armani Lee and Kayla Smothers each scored 10 for Destrehan.

Brishane Haynes led East St. John with 11 points. Keyvin Parker scored nine.

It was a typical back and forth East St. John/Destrehan game until midway through the third quarter, when Kayla Smothers hit a jumper to give Destrehan (15-8, 2-0) a 24-23 lead — East St. John had just taken the advantage on a jumper by Da’Rae Taylor, after trailing by as many as five.

But Smothers’ jumper ignited a run to end the third quarter, a 9-0 surge that put DHS ahead 32-24 entering the fourth quarter. Dabney was the engine behind it all; she followed Smothers’ jumper with a 3-pointer, then scored on a put back before capping the period with a layup off of a steal.

ESJ (11-11, 1-1) cut it to a six-point Destrehan lead after Kanitra Lee scored the first basket of the fourth quarter, but Dabney followed with a 3-pointer to give Destrehan it’s biggest lead of the night, 35-26.

Mya Duhe kept ESJ’s hopes alive, though, answering Dabney’s shot with a 3-pointer at the other end to make it 35-29.

Destrehan led by eight with 4:53 left to play when Armani Lee stepped up and made a huge bucket, a 3-pointer from the corner that put DHS up 11.

Duhe hit another long ball for East St. John to cut the deficit to 8, but ESJ missed an opportunity to make it a two-possession game after Duhe came up with a steal; ESJ missed a pair of layups. Later, with 2:05 left, Lee gathered her own miss underneath and drew a foul on the follow; she’d miss both free throws, and ESJ would draw no closer than six.

“We missed 15 free throws and 13 layups,” said Manuel. “We missed far too many opportunities. We’d get a turnover, go down and have a chance to make a layup … miss it, and they gather the miss and score at the other end. Swings like that, that’s basketball, it’s gonna happen. But you can’t let one instance affect the next.”

Destrehan led 19-18 at halftime.

While East St. John dealt with Dabney, Destrehan coach Angi Butler made her own adjustments to deal with ESJ’s Keyvin Parker, who scored all nine of her points in the first half.

“It wasn’t quite a box-and-one, but we had someone on her in the second half,” said Butler. “We adjusted to cut her off, and it made a difference.”

“These are two good teams,” said Manuel. “We’ll get another chance at home.”