Surging Rams race by Lutcher, now 11-2

Published 11:45 pm Tuesday, December 31, 2013


LAPLACE – It was indeed a happy birthday for longtime West St. John girls basketball coach Lester Smith Monday night. His players made sure of that.
The host Rams pressured Lutcher into a slew of turnovers and spent most of the night blitzing the basket in transition en route to a dominating 58-25 victory.
Maya Trench scored a game-high 20 points in the win while JuJuan Nicholas scored 16. The two dominated the game for the Rams, Lutcher unable to keep either from scoring on the break.
“We wanted to give (Smith) a win to be proud of today,” said Trench. “We were looking to get out and run as much as we could and make as many chances for an easy two points as we could.”
JaQuanna Hunter added 13 for West St. John (11-2).
Corian Hill led Lutcher (4-12) with 17 points.
West St. John started the game on a quick 6-0 spurt, Hunter scoring two baskets after first a steal by Nicholas and then an assist by Trench.
Trench sank a 3 from the corner to make it 9-2, then she ignited a fastbreak off of a one-handed outlet pass, resulting in a basket by Sydnei Young off a Hunter assist.
 “I like to be able to see the entire court so if that play’s there, we can get it,” said Trench.
Said Smith, “That’s how we have to play, the only way we can. We need to do it in transition, with this group.”
A Hunter putback made it 13-4, then Trench found Nicholas for a layup to push the lead to 15-4 before making an acrobatic shot of her own to begin the second quarter.
From there, Nicholas began to catch fire. She scored 10 points in the second quarter and, combined with Trench’s eight, spurred the Rams to a 33-10 halftime lead. Hill scored eight of Lutcher’s 10 first half points.
“We’re just kind of used to playing together now,” said Trench of the on-court chemistry between Nicholas and herself. “We’re trying to blend some new players in this year and its been going well.”
The Rams outscored Lutcher 16-2 in the third quarter to completely put things away.
“We were a little sluggish to start off,” said Smith. “We’ve only practiced one of the past seven days. But we picked it up in the second quarter.”
On the season, though, no one can accuse WSJ of getting off to a slow start. The Rams are 11-2, charging out of the gates in a similar fashion to last season.
Smith said that in addition to the strong play of his backcourt, he was pleased with the play of Hunter both in the game and on the season.
“She’s coming along nicely,” said Smith. “She’s been playing really well, scoring a lot and helping us at both ends of the floor.
WEST ST. JOHN 67, ST. JAMES 29 – The Rams got off to a 19-2 start last Friday as they defeated rival St. James (2-16) at home.
Hunter led the Rams with 18 points. Trench scored 17 while Nicholas added 11.