WSJ’s Gordon tops All-Parish girls hoops

Published 11:45 pm Tuesday, April 9, 2013



LAPLACE – In what was one of the most successful seasons ever for girls basketball in St. John the Baptist Parish, West St. John stood a cut above the rest.

The Lady Rams finished with a record of 31-2 and made their first ever appearance in a state championship game in 2013, wrapping up a stretch that saw their program win 50 of their last 50 games.

The 2012-13 L’Observateur All-St. John Parish girls basketball team reflects that success, as this year’s squad includes three Rams and also their coach.

The Rams’ Jaylyn Gordon leads the way – the senior guard is L’Observateur’s choice as girls basketball Most Valuable Player for the third consecutive season. Gordon had a sensational season that saw her become the first Lady Ram to ever be named as the LSWA All-State Outstanding Player (in Class 1A) as well as the first ever WSJ player to sign a Division I basketball scholarship – Gordon is set to move on to Louisiana-Lafayette next school year. Gordon averaged 22.3 points per game this season and hiked that up to 31 points per game over the state semifinals and finals.

She is joined on the team by her coach, Lester Smith, L’Observateur’s girls basketball Coach of the Year. Smith led the Rams to an undefeated district championship and the top seed in Class 1A in a season where the Rams posted a new team record in wins. Smith has now led WSJ to the Top 28 tournament in each of the past two seasons, the Rams’ first two appearances ever at the tourney. WSJ was ranked first in the LSWA Class 1A state poll all season long, the first time the Lady Rams have ever topped the state poll.

West St. John’s Maya Trench and Jujuan Nicholas each earn spots on the team as well. Trench, a freshman point guard, averaged 14.9 points per game for WSJ. Nicholas chipped in 10.9 points a night.

East St. John earned its first district championship in the Jackson Manuel era this season, a deep and talented Wildcats team splitting top honors with Destrehan in District 8-5A. The Ladycats are represented on the All-Parish team by senior Brishane Haynes and sophomore Da’Rae Taylor. Haynes was named District 8-5A’s Defensive MVP while averaging 11 points per game. Taylor averaged 14 points a night to lead ESJ.

Riverside, like West St. John, posted a record win total (22) this season and reached the second round of the postseason for just the second time ever. Helping to lead the Rebel breakthrough were junior center Kendra Turner and senior guard Kelsey Joseph. Turner averaged 16 points per game while Joseph posted an average of 11 points, the duo leading RA in scoring this season.