Lady Rams finish season in state semifinals

Published 1:35 pm Tuesday, March 6, 2012



MONROE — For West St. John, Saturday afternoon represented the end to the greatest season in school history.

The Rams fell to Tensas, 63-54, in a Class 1A state semifinal game, snapping what was a 19-game winning streak and concluding the longest playoff run in Rams history, its first trip to the Top 28.

Tensas will face Louisiana New Tech in the 1A State championship game this week.

The matchup was a defensive one. West St. John forced 35 turnovers but committed 39. Both teams struggled from the field, the usually hot-shooting Rams made just 21 of 77 field goal attempts, while Tensas made 27 of 70.

West St. John coach Lester Smith admitted that the atmosphere may have been a factor — prep teams typically have a hard time adjusting to shooting in a more open college gymnasium — but wouldn’t use it as an excuse.

“I won’t blame that. We just didn’t shoot well enough,” said Smith. “Things just kind of snowballed on us.”

Tensas led 31-26 at halftime and led by as many as 13 in the second half after a 10-3 third quarter run.

Helena Hill scored 17 to lead Tensas (31-1). Erin Fry added 14 and Cheyenne South chipped in 11.

Jaylyn Gordon led West St. John (26-5) with 26 points. JaJuan Nicholas scored 10. Donasia Bell had seven and Maya Trench scored six.

The Rams closed within five at one point in the second half, but could not finish the rally.

Smith said that one thing he would not question in the wake of the loss was his team’s effort.

“I stayed up afterwards and watched the film again, and that wasn’t an issue,” said Smith. “The effort was there. When it came down to it, it was a matter of losing one game to a good team that … I think if we played them 10 times, each side would win five.”

The experience could serve the Rams well going forward. All of the Ram players will return next season, as West St. John rosters no seniors. Gordon will be one next season, while Trench, the team’s second leading scorer, will be just a freshman.

“It’ll be great to have everyone back,” said Smith. “But this guarantees us nothing. We’ll have to put the work in this summer.

Hopefully some others step up for us and make an impact.”쇓