Maya Trench’s 27 points lead Lady Rams in second round victory

Published 12:03 am Wednesday, February 24, 2016

EDGARD — West St. John point guard Maya Trench is a tiny thing. She’s maybe 5-foot-2 if you include her white headband, but she sure knows how to dominate a basketball court.

West St. john coach Lester Smith, left, discusses strategy with his team in Monday night’s playoff game against Pickering.

West St. john coach Lester Smith, left, discusses strategy with his team in Monday night’s playoff game against Pickering.

After letting hot-shooting Pickering take an early lead in Monday night’s Class 2A regional playoff game, Trench took control to lead the Lady Rams to a 65-51 victory. The senior led all scorers with 27 points, and collected seven rebounds, seven assists and three steals.

She also led with her superior ball-handling skills and on-the-court direction.

Jaquanna Hunter followed with 20 points and 10 rebounds.

The No. 7 seeded Lady Rams (20-7) advance to the quarterfinal round for the second year in a row and will play at No. 2 seed St. Thomas Aquinas Thursday for a trip to the Girls Top 28 Tournament to be played in Hammond March 1-5.

West St. John has made only one trip to the tournament in Lester Smith’s lengthy career as coach of the Rams, in 2012. The Rams advanced to the semifinals with a 69-62 win over Central Catholic, then lost to Tensas, 63-54.

This group of Rams is hoping to get over that quarterfinal hump Thursday night.

“I want to leave with a ring,” Trench said. “That’s what I’m working for.”

She certainly appeared determined to get one Monday night. The Red Devils came to Edgard after a five-hour bus ride ready to challenge.

They opened the game with a couple of long field goals and quickly took a 5-0 lead.

“I wasn’t worried,” Trench said. “I’ve been in the playoffs enough to know we just had to stay cool and keep going.”

That’s precisely what the Rams did. What Trench did was load her teammates on her shoulders and carry them.

After scoring her first basket at the 5:54 mark of the first quarter, she scored two more on drives through the lane to tie it at 10-10 with 3:52 remaining.

With 3:15 remaining, she hit a 3-pointer off a steal by Hunter that put the Rams ahead for good.

By the end of the period, West St. John led 20-10.

When she wasn’t scoring, she was dishing to her teammates Hunter, Stevante Hamilton (5 points) and Christina Holmes (8 points) with no-look and behind-the-back passes that had the Red Devils dizzy.  In the third quarter alone, Trench and Hunter combined for a 16-point run.

“She’s very unselfish,” Smith said. “That was the biggest thing, to get her teammates to understand that she would get the ball to them.

“She gets as much pleasure from seeing her teammates score as she does from hitting the basket herself. “

Hunter said playing with Trench is easy, even when the ball can come from everywhere.

“I always know when it’s coming,” she said.

Editor’s Note: St. Charles Catholic’s Lela Hill’s points in Thursday night’s bi-district playoff game against Rayville were reported incorrectly. Hill scored eight points in the Comets’ 64-31 loss.