Rams finish district 10-0, earn 6th seed

Published 11:45 pm Tuesday, February 18, 2014


LAPLACE — The next time anyone bests West St. John in a district contest, it’ll be the first time in a very long time.

The Rams wrapped up their regular and District 9-1A seasons Friday night, JuJuan Nicholas’ game-high 28 points lifting West St. John to a 75-63 victory over visiting Ascension Catholic, moving the Rams to 10-0 in district play. 

West St. John hasn’t lost a district game in any of the past three seasons. 

The Rams are slated to host Delhi Charter in the bi-district round of the postseason this week. West St. John drew the no. 6 seed. A win would match WSJ up with the winner of No. 11 Country Day and No. 22 Basile. The game is set for Thursday night at 7 p.m.

Jaquanna Hunter scored 19 points to compliment Nicholas’ night. Maya Trench fouled out with five minutes remaining, finishing with 10 points. Christina Holmes added six. 

Holmes’ six points all came in the fourth quarter, after Trench fouled out of the game. It was a critical stretch; without Trench, the Rams’ leading scorer and point guard, and with the Bulldogs paying close attention to Nicholas, the Rams (24-5, 10-0) needed a counterpunch in the backcourt as the Bulldogs drew close. 

“(Holmes) played well. She came up with two key steals there late,” said West St. John coach Lester Smith. “The kids understand what we came out here to do. We’re playing well defensively … Maya got a little frustrated and committed some needless fouls early. It’s a learning point for the playoffs.”

The night’s key stretch came early in the second quarter, after West St. John led 18-15 at the conclusion of the first.

Hunter scored back-to-back Ram baskets, then Nicholas scored on a runner, sank a free throw and nailed a corner 3. Hunter made a layup and then Trench made a steal and layup and after just 2:38 of play in the second period, West St. John had extended its 3-point advantage to 17 thanks to a 14-0 run.

“We started really playing hard for every single play,” said Nicholas. 

Trench’s final basket of the night was a putback to push the Rams ahead 60-46 in the fourth quarter. Ascension Catholic  (14-13, 7-3) wasn’t done, though. Daija Harvey scored and drew a foul, converting a 3-point play to pull the Bulldogs within 10. Meagan Brooks nailed a pull-up 3 to make it a nine-point game, and then Harvey scored again to make it 65-58.

Holmes answered at the other end to make it a nine-point Ram lead. Then the Bulldogs were whistled for a technical foul; Sydnei Young went one-for-two at the line, then Nicholas drew a foul and did the same. After a defensive stop, Hunter scored in transition to make it 71-58, and West St. John was in firm control.

“We had to step up and play smart after (Trench) fouled out,” said Nicholas. 

Kyra Jones led Ascension Catholic with 15 points. Rae Malancon added 12. 

West St. John rides an 11-game winning streak into the playoffs. 

It’s district winning streak over a 3-year span stands at 30.

“10-0, three years in a row. That’s pretty good,” said Smith.