Second-quarter surge too much for the Gators

Kyle Riviere
Gonzales Weekly Citizen
St. Amant’s Colby Ester goes up for a contested shot during the Gators’ 65-51 loss to Scotlandville.

St. Amant was hungry for an upset over perennial power Scotlandville on Friday night, but a huge second-quarter run by the Hornets forced the Gators to play catch-up for the rest of the contest.

Scotlandville was able to ultimately hold off St. Amant for a 65-51 victory.

“I’m proud of our guys,” Gator head coach Travis Uzee said. “We’ve had a tough week, but I think we showed some heart and some toughness. But there were some spots in the game where I think we could have gotten back in it, but we just fell a little short.”

It was St. Amant’s second game in its John “Hot Rod” Williams Gold Dome Classic tournament. The night before, the Gators dropped a 63-61 contest to H.L. Bourgeois.

It surely didn’t get any easier for St. Amant on Friday night as it faced undefeated Scotlandville, a team that finished as the Division-I state runner-up last season.

St. Amant fell into an 8-2 hole right out of the gate, but 3-pointers by Colby Ester and RJ Gray tied the game at 10-10.

In the closing moments of the first quarter, Trace Forbes hit another trey to get St. Amant within 16-15 heading into the second.

The Gators took their only lead of the game early in that period, going ahead 19-18. From there, Scotlandville went on a huge run that put them ahead by double digits.

The Hornets used suffocating defensive pressure to force several Gator turnovers, and they turned those miscues into easy buckets.  Also, towering center Dorian Booker had his way down low.

This resulted in a 17-2 flurry by Scotlandville that put them ahead by 15. The Hornets carried a 41-27 advantage into halftime.

“We had a couple of bad possessions where we got shots that we really didn’t want to have,” Uzee said. “They were open, but we were looking to get a different kind of shot. So, we missed a couple, and they came down and hit theirs. And that really turned out to be the difference in the game. I felt like we were even the rest of the way.”

The Scotlandville lead swelled to 18 in the third quarter, but St. Amant began to chip away. A 3-pointer by Letavian Crockett cut it to 54-39 heading into the final period.

Crockett hit another in the fourth, and Forbes added a trey of his own to cut the deficit to 10 points with plenty of time left in the game.

But that’s as close as the Gators would get. 

They had chances down the stretch. St. Amant saw plenty of open 3-pointers, but the shots stopped falling.

The Hornets eventually pulled away with a 14-point victory.

St. Amant had no answers for Booker and Rayvon Smith. Smith led all scorers with 27, and Booker added 17.

The Gators were led by Crockett with 16. Gray added 11, Forbes netted eight and both Colby Ester and Jah’leel Ester scored seven.

After a 4-0 start, St. Amant has lost three straight to top-notch competition in Bonnabel, H.L. Bourgeois and Scotlandville.

Coach Uzee said that he hopes games like these will make his team battle tested.

“We hope this is beneficial come January and February,” Uzee said. “We picked this game. We wanted to play it. We want to try to play as many tough teams as we can so it will get us ready for the back end of our season.”