Brooks leads Ladycats past H.L. Bourgeois
Published 11:45 pm Friday, January 17, 2014
By RYAN ARENA
LAPLACE — With standout guard Da’Rae Taylor sidelined for Tuesday’s District 7-5A game against visiting H.L. Bourgeois, East St. John’s Kannisha Brooks knew her Wildcats needed her to step up.
Brooks scored a game-high 19 points as the Wildcats toppled the Braves 37-19 at Leon Godchaux Jr. High gymnasium.
Both teams struggled to get a consistent offensive flow going, but the combination of suffocating Wildcats defense and the play of Brooks down low proved to be more than enough for ESJ to even its record at 9-9 (3-2 in District 7-5A).
“Looking at our height advantage, we definitely had to dominate inside, “said Brooks. “Especially with (Taylor) not playing tonight, I knew it was on me to step up. We pounded the ball inside tonight.”
H.L. Bourgeois dropped to 10-7 overall, 2-3 in District 7-5A.
East St. John lost road district games at Destrehan and South Lafourche recently — East St. John coach Jackson Manuel said his team “completely laid an egg” in the latter — but has gotten back on the winning path after two consecutive district wins over Central Lafourche and now H.L. Bourgeois.
After sharing district championship honors with Destrehan last season, East St. John has no more margin for error if it has any chance of repeating that feat.
The team’s trademark pressure defense will have to be in top form if ESJ is to run the remainder of the district table. In the Ladycats two district losses, they’ve allowed 53 and 41 points, respectively, but no more than 29 points in any of their three victories.
“We played pretty well on that end tonight,” said Manuel. “The game got real ugly, really sloppy at times. Early on, we played with a lot of intensity, which allowed us to get out in front. They were getting in their face and making them uncomfortable.”
“The big thing for us is we’ve got to stop turning the ball over. We had way too many turnovers.”
Brooks, Manuel said, turned in one of her very best performances.
“The opportunities for games like tonight have been there for her. Tonight, she finished,” said Manuel. “She’s really been coming along and getting better as we get deeper into the season.”