Trench scores 21, but Rams fall on road

Published 11:45 pm Friday, February 28, 2014


LAPLACE — West St. John’s  came just short of its quest to reach the Ladies Top 28 tournament for the third consecutive season, falling at third-seeded Merryville 64-57 in a Class 1A quarterfinal game Thursday night. 

Maya Trench scored 21 points to lead WSJ. JuJuan Nicholas and Jaquanna Hunter each added 13 for the Rams. (25-5)

Andrea Cournoyer scored 20 to lead Merryville, while sister Peyton Cournoyer added 18. 

West St. John trailed by two at halftime and stayed within striking distance for most of the second half, but the Panthers were able to hold off the Rams. Merryville outscored WSJ 20-17 in the third quarter and 16-14 in the fourth.

“I thought we played well. It was a back and forth type of game in the second half,” said West St. John coach Lester Smith, whose team has lost just 21 games over the past five seasons. “10 (Andrea Cournoyer) was hitting from the outside and that caused some problems. On our end, we had a few turnovers and costly missed shots late … it’s just unfortunate for us, but that’s what a close game often comes down to.”

Merryville has yet to lose this season. The Panthers moved their perfect record to 31-0 Thursday. All but three of those wins were by double figures: only West St. John and East Beauregard proved the exception, the latter falling in two close games.

The loss snapped a 13-game win streak for West St. John.

After the graduation of Louisiana-Lafayette signee Jaylyn Gordon last summer, the team’s leading scorer and best playmaker, the Rams had to regroup. 

A core of Trench, Nicholas and Hunter stepped up to provide consistency all season, and West St. John decisively won District 9-1A — the program’s fifth straight district championship — won 25 games and reached the state quarterfinals for the third consecutive season.

“We accomplished a lot of our goals,” said Smith. “We won our district, went undefeated in it … We wanted to get back to the finals and we fell short, but these girls have nothing to hang their heads over.’

“It was a game that could have gone either way. They fought all year and did everything we asked of them. They worked hard … It’s a tough way to lose, but this is a young team. They’ll be back stronger from this.”