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Lady Rams run into Merryville buzz saw

MERRYVILLE — The West St. John High Lady Rams basketball team ended an intense season with a 71-36 defeat against the No. 2 seed Merryville Lady Panthers during Monday night’s regional playoff.

The girls entered the game expecting a challenge from an experienced team and a particularly talented point guard.

The Lady Rams played with a lot of heart, according to head coach Lester Smith. He attributes the loss to the athleticism of the opposing team.

“The kids played hard,” Smith said, adding Sevante Hamilton and Nazel Breaux showcased their individual strengths during the game, leading the team in scoring with 17 and 10 points, respectively. “[Merryville] just has a really good team.”

Regardless, the Lady Rams have reason to hold their heads high.

Small in numbers, the No. 15 seed Lady Rams put up a fight against larger and more experienced teams throughout the season, entering the week with a 12-12 record and a 33-30 bi-district playoff win against Montgomery.

Smith is proud of his team’s perseverance, noting the girls held their own against larger schools, including Helen Cox, Karr and Ascension Catholic.

He said the team took each challenge one game at a time and showed talent on the court.

“We’re low in numbers, but I think we have a pretty good defense that keeps us in the game,” Smith said.

“Making it to the second round of the playoffs has been a plus. That’s really rewarding for the team.”

It’s been a rollercoaster season, according to Smith, with stretches of wins, losses and growing pains that come with having a young team.

In many ways, the rollercoaster was expected, he said.

A team comprised of four sophomores and three junior has room to grow.

Hamilton, a junior, was a force on the court and put up 16 of 33 points during the first round playoff win, according to Smith.

Sophomore Kylie Adams and junior Breaux contributed 11 and 6 points to the bi-district win, respectively.

Smith said Adams have led the team in rebounds, while Breaux averaged 7 points a game throughout the season.

Rams playoff

The No. 24 seed West St. John High boys basketball team (8-14) competes in a bi-district road playoff game Friday against No. 9 seed Sicily Island.