McKnight leads ESJ past DHS
Published 11:45 pm Friday, February 21, 2014
By RYAN ARENA
LAPLACE — East St. John finished District 7-5A play with five consecutive wins, four of those by double figures — the last of which coming by 23 points on an archrival’s home floor.
Raekwon McKnight’s 15 points paced East St. John as it downed host Destrehan 68-45 in the final regular season game for both teams.
ESJ (23-5, 13-1) had already wrapped up the District 7-5A crown, but the win over DHS (13-18, 5-9) was the team’s latest dominant effort in a string of them. Of East St. John’s 13 district victories, only two came by less than double figures.
Troy Green scored 14 for ESJ. Tre’Von Jasmine scored 13 and Edwin Winston added nine.
Clifton Adams’ 13 points led Destrehan. Tyron Clark and Alfred Richardson each added nine.
East St. John led just 10-8 after the first quarter and 30-22 at halftime, but quickly put the game out of reach in the second half after building a 20-point lead.
“The game was a slower one. There were a lot of fouls, not a lot of flow,” said East St. John coach Yussef Jasmine. “But our kids really showed again that they’re able to push through adversity to get the job done.”
Jasmine said that that word, adversity, has been discussed constantly within his Wildcats’ locker room and in their huddles.
“Tonight, I didn’t even have to say it. One of our players beat me to it,” said Jasmine. “He said, ‘Fellas, this is just another form of adversity that we’ve got to overcome.’ In a lot of ways, I feel like our guys are so hungry that they’re actively looking for it.”
The coach said that while a number of players got into early foul trouble, some made an impact even so in the first half. Center Anthony Steer was a prime example he said, despite Steer picking up four first half fouls.
“He made some really big plays early on that kept them from getting out ahead,” said Yussef Jasmine.
McKnight put forth his latest strong effort.
“The great thing for us now is, you look at the guys we call our big three in E.J. (Winston), Tre and Troy … E.J. and Tre were in foul trouble … but Raekwon’s playing so well now. It’s like the Celtics, when they had the Big Three, and all of a sudden Rondo emerged too. He’s really stepping his game up. We’ve got great depth at guard.”
East St. John will learn this weekend which team it will face in the opening round of the 5A postseason.