ESJ takes sole possession of 1st place, rolls past Braves

Published 11:45 pm Friday, January 17, 2014


LAPLACE — East St. John guard Tre’Von Jasmine said that he and his Wildcat teammates set out to make a statement in its District 7-5A clash with H.L. Bourgeois. Forward Edwin Winston echoed those remarks. 

They delivered their message with an exclamation point, taking sole possession of first place in 7-5A via a dominating 80-55 victory over the Braves on Tuesday night at Leon Godchaux Jr. High gymnasium. 

“I think it’s the best game we’ve ever played,” said Jasmine. “We came out to prove a point and I thought in the third quarter, we did that. This team shares the ball. There are no ball hogs out here. We know this game’s about mental toughness, and we pride ourselves on that.”

ESJ outscored H.L. Bourgeois 49-33 in the second half to seal the deal, led by a third quarter offensive outburst from Jasmine and Winston, who combined to score 21 of ESJ’s 25 points in the period. 

“It was time to step up and take it to another level,” said Winston. 

“Those are our returning All-District players. That’s what we expect from them,” said ESJ coach Yussef Jasmine. “I always encourage those guys, when it’s time that you see my team is struggling, it’s time to put it on my back.”

The two teams each entered the game with 2-0 records in district play. 

“We knew that this team beat Thibodaux, who beat Hahnville by 30,” said Yussef Jasmine. “So especially when you’re dealing with teenagers … you know it’s a chance to make a statement. It can be intimidating. When you come out and have a performance like this over a team that’s been playing well, teams will take notice of that.”

Jasmine scored a game-high 22. Winston scored 20 and Troy Green 12 for East St. John. 

Bonvillian scored 22 points to lead H.L. Bourgeois. Chance Gasery added 10. 

It snapped a seven-game winning streak for the Braves (13-6, 2-1). East St. John (12-4, 3-0)has now won five straight games. 

East St. John led 31-22 at halftime, but a pair of quick baskets by Bonvillian pulled the Braves within six, 33-27. 

Raekwon McKnight quickly pushed the lead back to nine for the Wildcats, sinking a 3 from the wing to make it 36-27. Jasmine answered a Takharri Gasery bucket with one of his own, followed by a Gasery make at the other end.

The teams had begun trading buckets in a much more wide open game than was the case in the first half. 

“We were scoring with them halfway through the third, but we couldn’t get stops,” said H.L. Bourgeois coach Andrew Caillouet. 

Then came the turning point: Winston ignited his team with a ferocious one-handed slam dunk to bring the crowd — and his bench — to its feet.

“That was a game-changer,” said Yussef Jasmine.

Said Winston, “I could feel the momentum change.”

The Wildcats’ nine point lead grew from there. Jasmine socked a jumper home, the Winston converted a 3-point play in transition to make it 46-33. 

He added his second highlight slam of the night on a baseline inbounds play, Monterio Cage lobbing one up for a two-handed slam. 

Jasmine scored on a leakout to make it 50-33, then again in transition to push the lead to 19. 

“They weren’t getting back on defense,” said Tre’Von Jasmine. “We talked about it in the huddle, how we needed to push the ball and take advantage.”

Bonvillian finally canned a 3 from the wing to break up a 13-0 ESJ run, but the damage was largely done. ESJ led by 16 and never saw its lead dip below 14 before ending the night on a 15-5 run.

“We were effective with our zone early, but we weren’t scoring any points,” said Caillouet. “We decided to play man to man and maybe get some opportunities that way, but it obviously backfired.’ 

“They played with a lot more intensity. That’s the best team we’ve faced of late.”