Lady Spartans squeeze by Dutchtown, sit atop district standings

Peter Silas Pasqua
East Ascension’s Symone Miller converts a layup in the third quarter of the Lady Spartans’ 51-49 victory Tuesday night.

GEISMAR - East Ascension’s Symone Miller and Kaneesha Grant each converted a pair of free throws in the closing minute to preserve a 51-49 District 6-5A victory Tuesday night after Dutchtown briefly took the lead with just under six minutes to play.

“We have to keep pushing forward,” East Ascension head coach Dennis Chandler said. “I think the kids are doing a pretty good job but you have to play each game. We have improved our rebounding but they were strong on the offensive glass and that kept them in the game. That is one of the key points we have to work on down the road.

“We have five kids that any night can put up double figures. What I like about this team is if you take away somebody there is someone else. The good part about them is I can coach this group. They don’t get mad or display attitude and that is real nice today.”

The victory leaves East Ascension (13-3, 3-0) as the only undefeated team in district play three games into the schedule. Dutchtown (15-8, 1-2), the defending district champion, drops its second straight loss despite a game-high 18 points from Ka’Neishia Cobbins in her first game back since getting a tooth knocked out.

“It was key having her back,” Dutchtown head coach Annette Lowery said. “This was a team effort and we came out and played as a team. We just fell shot. We got out rebounded and that is what killed us. East Ascension is a solid team and they are well coached. They have inside and outside game. We did not block out and I feel that is what cost us the ball game.”

Josie West scored 14 points to East Ascension’s balanced attack that included four players in double figures. Alexis Ruth added 11 points, while Miller and Grant each had 10.

Cobbins’ coast to coast drive cut it to 49-47 with 14.3 seconds remaining. Brittany Lacy fed Latoya Evans in transition with 2.6 seconds remaining after Grant’s free throws but time ran out on Dutchtown.

“They played man most of the game and at the end they went to zone,” Lowery said. “That is what we are used to. Our shots weren’t falling. We had wide open looks and they didn’t fall. They were just the much better team tonight.”

Rhondalon Popularus’ free throw put Dutchtown ahead 42-41 before consecutive putbacks by West and Miller put East Ascension ahead for good. Cobbins fed Evans inside for Grant’s dish to West inside.

“Dutchtown responded after we took the lead and I expected that,” Chandler said. “Cobbins is a real good ball player. They are young but they are still going to be a factor in all of this. They are not going to quit.”

Ruth and Popularus traded drives to open the second half. Jodi Hill’s putback cut it to 41-37 going into the final frame after four straight points from Miller and inside buckets from Maureen Gross and Leore Farbugh.

Popularus fed Hill off an inbounds pass to open the fourth quarter before Cobbins went coast to coast to knot it up 41-41.

Ruth connected on two 3-pointers and Grant another to push East Ascension to a 18-16 lead going into the second quarter. Cobbins scored nine points in the second stanza but West countered with seven as the Lady Spartans remained ahead 33-27 at half-time.