STATEMENT MADE: Lady Spartans dismantle John Ehret to advance to Class 5A quarterfinals

Peter Silas Pasqua
East Ascension’s Kaneesha Grant converts a drive in transition ahead of John Ehret’s Taylor Alexander in the second quarter of the Lady Spartans’ 71-45 Class 5A regional playoff victory Monday night.

East Ascension held John Ehret to five first-quarter points on way to dismantling the Lady Patriots by 26 in a 71-45 Class 5A regional playoff game Monday night at EAHS’ gym.

No. 5 seed East Ascension made a statment taking a, 19-5, lead going into the second quarter, while never looking back.

“I am not surprised with anything we do,” East Ascension head coach Dennis Chandler said. “We just played. What we try to do from game to game is take what it there. Any coach in America starts with defense. Defense wins championships. If you are talking about winning and going forward you have to be able to stop somebody. We lived to play another day and that is all that is important right now.”

The Lady Spartans advanced to travel to No. 4 seed Walker, a 44-29 winner over Carencro, Thursday night in the quarterfinals with a berth in the LHSAA Top 28 state tournament on the line. East Ascension’s  last appearance was in 1993. 

“Walker is one of the top teams in the state,” Chandler said. “You cannot take that from them. They are very well coached. They are talented. It is a very solid program. We will role up our sleeves and go at it. We have to have enough basketball sense to improvise. That is where we are not there, yet. To get there you have to dig deep down in your soul. ”

No. 12 seed John Ehret ended the season with a 25-7 record.

“They definitely blind sided us,” John Ehret head coach Ron Heuer said. “I thought it would be a very competitive game. You have to come to play and one of us came to play and the other did not. They played an excellent game. I think the turnovers hurt us but their big girl in the middle - we couldn’t stop it even in the half court game. They were patient, took their time and executed better than we did. We stood around and had a tendency to watch on offense.

“All teams have flaws and anybody can be beat on any given night. I wish them the best of luck. It gets tougher as the season moves along but they were definitely on top of their game tonight and there were no weaknesses.”

East Ascension was led by Kaneesha Grant and Alexis Ruth each with 21 points. Josie West added 17 and Symone Miller contributed eight, while Katona Blanche had four.

“I got a big kid that is 6-2 and talented and you just tell her to move to the ball and we are going to get it down there to you,” Chandler said. “We are going to this as far as we can go. If they take her away, we have three pretty good high school girls and that is in the beauty of the team. If you take Josie away, we got three good guards. If we do a little better defensively, you never can tell.”

“My system works and I got the girls to work it. It is playoff tested but Walker is a different beast and we have to play better.”

John Ehret was led by Tori Scott wit 18 points. Ariente Williams added seven while Shamika Divinity provided five.

East Ascension went ahead 13-2 in the first quarter on Miller’s dish to Blanche in transition after West’s inside bucket and Ruth’s transition baskets, the later a 3-pointer from the right corner.

Scott’s 3-pointer from the left wing ended Ehret’s drought before Ruth scored the final six points of the stanza on two free throws, a putback and in transition from Grant.

Scott’s free throws opened the second quarter before Grant’s drive in transition. Raven Coleman’s pull up cut it to 21-9 before Blanche fed Ruth inside. East Ascension went ahead 21-11 on Grant’s dish to West inside after Blanche fed Ruth under the basket and Williams passed out to Jaunte Barnes. Scott’s and one preceded a 6-0 run by the Lady Spartans courtesy of free throws and Ruth’s dish to West inside.

Williams’ 3-pointer near the top of key just before the buzzer cut it to 41-21 at half-time after Ruth fed Miller in transition and a cutting Grant. Williams’ lay up off a steal cut it to 33-18 after Sharmyka Lewis’ baseline drive.

Ruth fed West inside to open the second half, before Barnes’ dish to Williams inside. East Ascension then used 7-0 run capped by Miller’s drive in transition and one after Grant’s baseline jumper from Ruth off an inbounds pass. Taylor Alexander’s putback preceded Grant’s jumper before Barnes and Jewel Simmons’ inside buckets.

Miller fed a cutting Grant to make it 58-32 going into the final stanza after Ruth’s technical free throws and Scott’s jumper.

East Ascension took their biggest lead, 65-37, on Grant’s free throws with 4:21 left to play after Miller’s transition bucket. Divinity’s jumper opened the final stanza before she traded and ones with West. Scott drove lane before Ruth fed Grant inside. Taylor Alexander’s inside bucket reflected the final tally after Scott’s drive and Miller’s free throws.

East Ascension’s Alexis Ruth converts a lay up in transition ahead of John Ehret’s Tori Scott in the first quarter Monday night.