Denham Springs finishes strong down stretch over Gators

Peter Silas Pasqua
St. Amant’s Steve Fulkerson attempts to drive baseline on Denham Springs’ Brandon Watkins and Taylor Fletcher in the Yellow Jackets’ 45-37 victory Tuesday night at Grady Hornsby Gym.

DENHAM?SPRINGS?– Denham Springs converted two lay ups out of a spread offense and converted a missed free throw to go ahead by three possessions in a 45-37 victory over St. Amant Tuesday night at Grady Hornsby Gym.

St. Amant led by as much as 31-26 in the third quarter but was outscored 17-6 in the final frame.

“We didn’t finish in the fourth quarter,” St. Amant head coach Gary Duhe said. “We took two ill-advised 3-point shots and we didn’t block out on free throws. We did a poor job of guarding when they went to the spread and didn’t stop penetration. We have to do a better job of that.

“We did a good job on defense. We are changing defenses a lot and we have to do that. We had it right where we needed it. We just have to finish. Our youth showed up tonight.”

Steve Fulkerson had a game-high 16 points for St. Amant (1-11). Mileke Beasley, Jacob Gauthier and Justin Manton each added six.

Randy Lathers led Denham Springs (13-2) with 14 points, while Hunter Ethridge added 12, Brandon Watkins provided eight and Taylor Fletcher had seven.

“As soon as we got the lead, I knew what we were going to do,” Denham Springs head coach Wynn Wingate said. “Pull them out of that zone and try to make them play man. You are trying to score out of it if you can and we did a good of finishing two lay ups.

“We shot atrociously at the beginning.  Every game we have had to work for it. It is just a matter of making our free throws at the end and handling pressure. We are making bad decisions sometimes that end up helping us.”

Denham Springs led 15-13 after one quarter as Lathers, Ethridge and Fletcher all hit 3-pointers.

Neither team as able to do much in the second quarter as each just scored five apiece and the Yellow Jackets took a 20-18 halftime lead.

Wes Hoover fed Watkins inside in transition to open the second half before Fulkerson’s putback.

Marlon Bourgeois’ dish to Fulkerson inside knotted it up 24-24 after Fletcher’s putback and

Fulkerson’s free throws but Hoover nailed a 19-footer from the top of the key.

Gauthier’s assist to Fulkerson inside gave the Gators the lead after Beasley’s drive. Watkins’ putback made it 31-28 going into the final frame after Beasley’s dish out to Manton for a 3-pointer on the left wing.

Denham Springs regained the lead on Ethridge’s 3-pointer from the right wing with 5:12 left to play after Javonti Spain fed Lathers inside during an 11-0 run.

Ethridge’s drives from the spread offense preceded his dish to Watkins inside before Fulkerson’s free throws ended the run.

Watkins’ dish to Lathers inside following an offensive rebound on a missed one and one put Denham Springs ahead 42-35.

Dalton Alexander fed Jacky Joseph inside before free throws by Hoover and Lathers reflected the final tally.

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St. Amant’s Justin?Manton takes a shot attempt over Denham Springs’ Wes Hoover in the Gators’ 45-37 loss Tuesday night.