Ladycats dominate 7-5A opener

Published 11:45 pm Tuesday, December 31, 2013


LAPLACE — East St. John got off to a 1-0 start in District 7-5A play behind strong efforts by Jermani Thompson and Kennisha Brooks, defeating visiting Terrebonne last week 60-29 at Leon Godchaux Jr. High Gym.
Thompson scored a game-high 20 points and Brooks 18 to give the Wildcats an inside-outside combo that the Tigers couldn’t match.
East St. John (7-7, 1-0) turned up its defensive pressure early, showing its peak potential when locked in on that end: it shut out Terrebonne (6-9, 0-1) in the second quarter, outscoring the visitors 12-0 to take a 28-11 lead into halftime and setting the tone for the rest of the night.
“I thought the girls played a really aggressive brand of defense and made the right adjustments as the game went on,” said East St. John coach Jackson Manuel.
He said that Thompson stepped up in a big way for his team.
“She just had a great game,” said Manuel. “She’s been playing at a higher level than maybe we even expected every night. She’s been a lot more consistent than last season and it’s showing in her numbers.’
“Kennisha did a great job inside. There were a lot of things I was pretty pleased with.”
Freshman Selena James added 10 for the Wildcats, which was another plus Jackson noted.
“She’s been kind of forced into duty with a few of our players out. She did a very solid job.”
Da’Rae Taylor had an off night in terms of scoring, but not playmaking, as she led ESJ in assists and concentrated on getting her teammates going.
“And she was very good at the defensive end, too,” said Manuel. “She forced a lot of mistakes, finished close to double digits in assists. She was looking for her teammates and enabling others to get their points.”
The Wildcats’ next matchup is a key one: ESJ will travel to archrival Destrehan for a big district showdown.
The two teams split district championship honors last season, each taking a victory over the other. Their last meeting was a 56-50 ESJ win at Destrehan. Both games were played at DHS last season after the first game had to be moved from Godchaux due to heavy rain causing a small amount of flooding in the gym.
“It’ll be that same kind of war again,” said Manuel. “Not a whole lot has changed from last season with these teams.’
“They play very similar to what they did last season and they’ve added a few more good athletes. We’ve gotta play a solid game.”