Lady Rams tune up in summer
Published 11:45 pm Tuesday, July 17, 2012
By RYAN ARENA
EDGARD – Coming off of a season in which they reached the Class 1A semifinals, and set numerous school records in the process, the West St. John Lady Rams basketball team has an eye on a showstopper of an encore performance in the 2012-13 season.
They offered a bit of a preview during summer ball last month, playing in a summer league and also a tournament at Tulane, going 7-6 overall.
With all of his state semifinalist players returning this season – incredibly, the most accomplished girls team in school history had no seniors last season – Rams coach Lester Smith ratcheted up the scheduled competition. The league and tournament pitted West St. John against tough squads such as Salmen, Warren Easton and McDonogh No. 35.
“I thought we did well,” said Smith. “Even when we were short on players, it allowed us to give time to some of our younger players who ended up playing real well.”
As one who followed the team last season might expect, still leading the way for the Rams was the stellar guard combination of Jaylyn Gordon and Maya Trench. Gordon, an All-State selection and a two-time L’Observateur St. John Parish MVP, will be a senior next season; Trench, just a freshman.
The duo combined to score over 1,300 points last season, one that saw the Rams go 26-5 and knock off top-seeded Central Catholic in the state playoffs – in Central Catholic’s home gym. That quarterfinal win stands as the biggest in team history.
Smith said that two players who excelled as well during the summer were Deja Feist and Sydnei Young, a pair of experienced forwards who will play key roles again next season.
“They both played well,” said Smith. “Better than expected. They showed a little more than they did in the prep season, so that was good to see.”
West St. John won a school record 26 games last season and its second-ever district title.
Smith said that he thought the team met his summer expectations on the whole.
“Even in the losses, I thought we did a pretty decent job. We lost to Salmen by nine, McDonogh by two … Salmen’s got a 6-foot-3 girl who’s coming back, one that’s real good. We saw some good competition.
“I left feeling pretty good about (the summer). Knowing what we have coming back and getting the girls some more experience playing together, as opposed to just in AAU, it only helps you progress as a team.”