Lady?Gators turn away East Ascension in season finale

Peter Silas Pasqua
St. Amant’s Kayla Ruth grabs a rebound ahead of East Ascension’s Shannon Corbin, Alexis Ruth and Jalen York in the first half of the Lady Gators’ 41-39 District 6-5A victory Friday night in the Gold Dome.

ST. AMANT?– St. Amant overcome a late run from East Ascension to claim a 41-39 District 6-5A victory in the season finale Friday night at the Gold Dome.

It was Lady Gators’ first victory against East Ascension since the two teams joined the district three years ago.

The loss likely dropped the Lady Spartans out of the playoffs as they found themselves falling to 34th in the latest power ratings released by the LHSAA after forfeiting four district wins. St. Amant sits at 39th.

“It has been a while since we beat EA and I think they saw they had an opportunity,” St. Amant head coach Kristy Englade said. “They were killing us with 3-pointers and penetration but we finished strong at the end. I don’t know where the turning point was but I think they saw the light at the end of the tunnel and that this could actually be accomplished.

“The seniors stepped it up. We got a little tired at the end but we rotated people in and out. They only have six kids, so we wanted to bring it into them to get them in foul trouble and we could have done that better but if we keep buying in, you will see that we are capable of beating teams like this.”

Bria Turner led St. Amant (16-18, 4-6) with 16 points, while Kaitlin McClure added eight, Kalyn Acy provided six, Kayla Ruth had four, Kandace Boudreaux chipped in three and Chelsea Robertson and Maddie Reardon each had two.

Alexis Ruth led East Ascension (9-15, 1-9) with a game-high 23 points, while Symone Miller added nine and Jalen York provided seven.

“We didn’t defend and we didn’t rebound,” East Ascension head coach Dennis Chandler said. “If you don’t defend and rebound, you don’t win. It is just that simple. St. Amant did a good job but our defense and rebounding were poor. That is just the basic bottom line. It has been like that the whole season.

“One team played with a lot of energy and one team didn’t. We didn’t play up to our talent level. This game hurt us. You coach them but they have to play the game. I can want it all I want but they have to want it and rebounding is wanting.”

Kayla Ruth converted a putback with 1:21 left to play to put St. Amant ahead 40-39 after Miller left the game with a bad ankle. With 28 seconds remaining, the Lady Spartans missed a one and one before Alexis Ruth was forced out with a bloody lip. McClure’s free throw with five seconds remaining reflected the final tally.

Turner’s 3-pointer from the left wing put St. Amant within one after York’s baseline jumper and step back. Miller’s floater put East Ascension ahead for the first time since the opening basket 33-32 before Alexis Ruth’s drive in transition and Acy’s baseline jumper. Acy’s dish to Reardon opened the fourth quarter.

Turner’s pull up jumper and Kayla Ruth’s free throws matched St. Amant’s biggest lead 26-16 to open the second half before consecutive 3-pointers by Alexis Ruth. After Turner fed McClure inside, Brionca Bougere drove baseline. Alexis Ruth’s 3-pointer from the left wing and Miller’s up and under cut it to 30-29 going into the final frame.

Alexis Ruth’s 3-pointer opened the contest before Turner’s consecutive 3-pointers and McClure’s jumper put St. Amant ahead 12-3. Acy’s turnaround jumper made it 14-4 going into the second quarter.

York’s 3-pointer from the right wing opened the second frame before Acy’s putback and jumpers from Miller and Alexis Ruth. Turner’s 19-footer preceded Alexis Ruth’s 3-pointer from the left wing before Miller’s lane drive cut it to 22-16 at halftime after McClure’s reverse and Robertson’s putback.

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East Ascension’s Alexis Ruth gathers a rebound in between St. Amant’s Chelsea Robertson and Kaitlin McClure in the?Lady?Gators’ 41-39 District 6-5A victory Friday night at the Gold Dome.