Rams fall at Lab in 1st round

Published 11:45 pm Monday, March 3, 2014


LAPLACE — Host Southern Lab turned back a second half rally by West St. John to advance in the Class 1A state basketball playoffs, emerging with a 73-53 victory.

14th seeded Southern Lab set up a regional round matchup with third-seeded Madison Prep.

West St. John narrowed a big Southern Lab halftime lead to 10 in the second half before the Kittens asserted control for good.

“They started to pull away from us in that second quarter,” said West St. John coach Juan Joseph. “We made a run in the third and fourth quarters and kind of got ourselves back in it, but their lead was so big. We just dug a deep hole.”

Joseph said his Rams’ inability to generate consistent offense, especially early, allowed Lab (13-12) to punish them in transition.

“Our offense was stagnant and that led to some easy baskets on the other end for them,” said Joseph. “In the second half, we started playing better transition defense and that helped us make a push.’

“But those guys are tall, lanky, and athletic … they gave us some real problems.”

The Rams finished the season with a mark of 10-12 overall after making a late-season push to force a three-way tie for second place in District 8-1A with Ascension Catholic and East Iberville. 

West St. John boasts a young roster that will lose just three seniors headed into next season, with a nucleus that will include senior standouts Morell Bartholomew and Jordan Hamilton. 

“We had a lot of young guys getting playing time and who got to experience some playoff-like atmosphere, not just in the last game but also late in district.,” said Joseph. 

“That’s valuable experience for those guys for sure, and that’s really the big takeaway from this season for our team.”