1st round of ‘Cats rivalry goes to DHS
Published 11:45 pm Tuesday, January 7, 2014
By RYAN ARENA
LAPLACE — The jumper wasn’t falling for Destrehan Friday night in the first of two key District 7-5A clashes with East St. John, so DHS coach Angie Butler delivered a message to her team: take it to the hole.
Her Wildcats heard it loud and clear. Destrehan controlled the action behind Cara Ursin’s game-high 21 points and DHS came away with a 53-26 victory at home.
The two teams split their district championship last season after each defeated the other during the regular season.
DHS has now won 12 straight games.
The action was intense from the get go; three technical fouls were levied on the night, and each team set out to make the contest physical. East St. John shot 35 free throws and Destrehan 29 for a combined 64 on the night.
“East St. John is always a mental game for us,” said Butler. “We have to stay up mentally, or else we’re in trouble. Defensively, we stayed strong tonight, which made a big difference.”
Many of those trips to the line were earned through DHS’ fast break, which it attempted to ignite at any possible opportunity.
“We’ve finally got a lot of girls that can run and go,” said Butler. “So every chance we have to run, we do.’
“Our shot wasn’t very consistent tonight, so that’s when you go to the goal. We know we can make the layup, so that’s what we needed to do.”
Butler said that Ursin didn’t have her best night, but the Destrehan star looked to be the court’s top star regardless, attacking the basket with ferocity both in transition and in halfcourt sets.
“She’s very talented,” said Butler. “She’s usually going to give us a bigger scoring night … it wasn’t her best game. She did a lot of positive things at the defensive end for us, though. She finds a way to make a big impact.”
Said Ursin: “We know this is always a big rivalry. We talked about not letting the crowd get into our heads
Destrehan led 11-9 after the first quarter. After the teams traded brief runs, Destrehan began to create distance. Back-to-back layups by Jasmine Morris and Ursin made it a 21-13 DHS lead in the second quarter.
Morris’ floater made it 26-15, then Jordan Dabney scored on a drive to up the DHS lead to 14.
Destrehan began the second half with an 8-1 run, highlighted by four Ursin points, to make it 36-18.
But East St. John (7-8, 1-1) didn’t go without a fight — particularly, guard Da’Rae Taylor pushed back. First, she sank three free throws after being fouled on an outside shot attempt. Then she knifed into the lane for a layup. She sank another two free throws and then began the fourth quarter with a jumper, then a steal and a layup to cut things to 42-30.
“We made several pushes,” said East St. John coach Jackson Manuel. “We just missed too many layups.’
“We convert half of those, we’re in it. We make our free throws, we’re in it. We didn’t control the things that we can control.”
It was as close as ESJ got. Ursin took the ball to the rim strong once more, then sank two free throws. Her coast-to-coast layup made it a 47-31 Destrehan lead and from there, DHS held off their visiting rivals.
Taylor led East St. John with 18 points. Kennisha Brooks added eight.
Brandi Mason scored 16 points and Dabney 10 for Destrehan.
Manuel wasn’t discouraged after the game, noting that his team would be heard from again as district play rolls on.
“I’m not claiming youth anymore,” said Manuel. “We’ve played half a season. By now, we should be all grown up.”