Wildcats fall 61-57 to Slidell; coach Julien happy with return

Published 12:01 am Wednesday, February 28, 2018

SLIDELL — The East St. John boys basketball team came up short against Slidell High Friday night, ending the Wildcats’ 2018 playoff run with a hard-fought 61-57 loss.

Head coach Charles Julien described Slidell as a senior-laden, intimidating team that posed a challenge to the younger Wildcats.

Julien said his team played a respectable game, full of heart, and the loss doesn’t discount the success the squad enjoyed this season in terms of consistent play and teamwork.

“I thought the boys played a good game,” Julien said. “We can only give Slidell credit for being a formidable opponent. We were prepared, but sometimes the ball doesn’t bounce your way.

“You win as a champion and you lose as a champion, and we lost gracefully.”

Seniors Javon Antonio and Alan Williams proved themselves star players, both during the Slidell game and throughout the season as team captains.

Antonio, who recently signed to play football at Hinds Community College, is an all-around athlete who averaged 14.3 points, 12.6 rebounds and three assists a game.

Julien said Antonio was a defensive force, blocking shots from the opposition.

Williams performed well against Slidell and many others, averaging 18.6 points, 4.3 assists and 3.6 rebounds per game.

With three juniors, six sophomores and two freshmen returning, Julien is confident the program is headed in the right direction.

Having previously coached at East St. John High from 2002 to 2007, Julien recalls bringing a previous generation of Wildcats to the Top 28 tournament and hopes to recreate the success in years to come.

Exiting the season at 18-15 record, Julien considers the past months a constructive transition period.

“Being a first-year returning coach, I’d say this season was successful in that we were trying to implement a new system and build on what previous coach Yussef Jasmine had already established,” Julien said.