Rams win opener

Published 11:45 pm Friday, December 20, 2013


LAPLACE — Sometimes, said West St. John’s Quan Scott, one can just feel like it’s gonna be a good night.
Tuesday night proved to be just that for Scott and his teammates in the Rams boys basketball opener.
Scott scored 17 points and hit four 3 pointers en route to a 53-46 victory over Thomas Jefferson at home.
“I was shooting around before the game and thought that it felt like a good day,” said Scott, who drilled the first basket of the game from 3-point range. “After (that basket), my confidence just soared.”
Jordan Hamilton scored 11 for the Rams despite missing much of the third quarter due to foul trouble. Davante Mitchell and Morrell Bartholomew each added seven.
Michael Bazile scored 19 to lead the Jaguars. Michael Andrus scored eight.
The Rams (1-0) are off to their traditional late start to the season, scheduled post-football season as so many Rams pull double-duty as football players.
“We still have to get our legs under us,” said Scott. “I know we can get better on defense.’
“But we should be a very physical team for people to deal with. If we’re hitting shots, we can run with the best of them, I think. We want to make a deep run in the playoffs.”
Hamilton, the Rams’ starting point guard, went to the bench early in the third quarter after picking up his fourth foul, and Thomas Jefferson made a move after trailing 26-19 at halftime. Isiah Williams scored a layup in transition to make it 28-25, highlighting a 9-3 run and drawing the Jaguars within a point.
“It was a matter of calming them down,” said Thomas Jefferson coach William Ureta. “I liked this game for our young team, in hostile territory against a very athletic team. It was a way to see how we’d respond to those types of situations.”
But then Scott drove and converted a layup to push the lead to three. A 3 from the wing by Jemoine Green gave West St. John a 35-28 advantage.
And just as time expired in the third quarter, Scott’s step-back 3-pointer splashed through the net to give the Rams their biggest lead of the second half at 38-30.
“We made an effort to stop them from getting to the basket. If they make 3’s, they make 3’s,” said Ureta. “We knew they’re a good shooting team, but it was kind of a matter where we felt we had to pick our poison.”
The West St. John pressure took care of the rest, with Green and Mitchell both converting fast break layups off of steals. Hamilton did the same, using a nifty Euro step move to convert off his own steal, making it 45-34. Thomas Jefferson was now dealing with foul trouble of its own after center Tyler Butler fouled out. It halted the 6-0 run via a Bazile bucket, but another Hamilton basket jumpstarted another quick 6-0 spurt that put the Rams ahead 51-37.
The Jaguars (7-4) didn’t go quietly after that, with Andrus scoring six points from there as TJHS pushed to make it a game again in the final minutes. But the Rams were able to break the Jaguars trap with just under a minute left, Mitchell scoring to extend WSJ’s six-point lead to 53-45.
“I think we’re going to keep getting better,” said West St. John coach LaVanta Davis. “We were a little tired and still need to get our legs. I thought we did
a nice job creating
pressure defensively, forcing some turnovers and getting going that way.”
Scott hit the first basket of the game, a 3 from the top of the circle, helping spark WSJ to a 17-8 lead.
“He hit some big shots and it forced them to extend their defense,” said Davis. “Once they did that, we were able to find the gaps and create some good shots inside.”