When Lia Anderson hit a free throw for East St. John with 1.2 seconds left in the game, it represented the only point scored by the Lady Cats in the fourth quarter.
Luckily for the Lady Cats, they did just enough earlier in the game to take a 48-41 win over visiting Terrebonne in District 7-5A girls basketball Friday night in Reserve.
The win improved ESJ to 19-6 overall and 5-2 in district. Terrebonne fell to 17-8 and 4-3 in district.
East St. John had to hold off the Lady Tigers at the end after having to rally back from a sluggish start.
Terrebonne open the game with a pair of baskets on a Nala Hollins and a put-back by Taylor Hartman for a quick 4-0 lead. The Lady Tigers also scored from outside in the period on a 3-pointer by Trinity Pierce and another by Hartman to give Terrebonne a lead of as much as five points on the way to a 16-13 advantage after one quarter.
“We came out kind of slow,” East St. John coach Stasha Thomas-James said. “We had been preaching to the girls lately that our defense was going to have carry us. We had been playing better defense but this game we didn’t start off great defensively. We were still able to win the game but we had some mental lapses on defense.”
Although the defensive start was slow for ESJ the pace was rather quick, which suits Thomas-James just fine.
“I like to play fast because I feel like we do a lot of running and we prepare them to play fast. We can’t walk the ball up because when we walk the ball up, we slow the tempo,” Thomas-James said.
The Lady Cats stepped up defensively in the second quarter, holding Terrebonne to five points.
Meanwhile, the ESJ offense went to work.
Trailing 18-15, baskets by a pair of freshmen, Ashia Ward and Jasmine Matthews, gave East St. John its first lead of the game at 19-18 at the 4:05 mark of the second quarter.
The run continued on two Ward free throws and a layup by Deshaun Daniels to extend ESJ’s lead to 23-18.
A 3-pointer by senior Kayana Adams at the end of the quarter gave the Lady Cats a 30-21 lead. The nine-point margin represented East St. John’s biggest lead of the first half.
ESJ took its biggest lead of the game at 15 points on a three-point play on a put-back and free throw by Ward for a 40-25 advantage and the Lady Cats seemed to be cruising going into the fourth period with a 47-34 lead.
Terrebonne made its run to open the fourth quarter.
A free throw by Arecia Celestin, a basket and 3-pointer by Pierce, along with a Hartman free throw, pulled the Lady Tigers to within six points at 47-41 with 2:02 left in the game.
To that point in the quarter, the Lady Cats had failed to score a single point. The drought continued but Terrebonne was unable to take advantage of a drought of its own, going the rest of the game without scoring.
Anderson’s free throw was the only point scored in the final two minutes as the Lady Cats held on for the 48-41 win.
Adams finished with a game-high 18 points while Ward added 12 and Matthews 11.
Pierce was the only double-figure scorer for Terrebonne with 10 points.
While the start may have been sluggish and points were almost non-existent in the fourth quarter, it still added up to a win for the Lady Cats.
“In the locker room, I said first things first, a win is always good. A win is a win but I still want to make sure we understand the principles of the things we talk about in practice so that we can get better,” said Thomas-James.