St. Amant bests Hahnville for seventh straight win

Kyle Riviere
Gonzales Weekly Citizen
St. Amant’s Deniya Thornton scored 17 points in the Lady Gators’ 60-54 win over Hahnville.

St. Amant jumped out to a seven-point lead over Hahnville in the fourth quarter on Tuesday night, just to see the Lady Tigers surge back and take a one-point advantage.

But when the Lady Gators needed them the most, Amiyah Barrow and Deniya Thornton stepped up. Thornton led the defense with two huge blocks down the stretch, and Barrow was able to ice the game away with some clutch free throws.

The duo’s strong play late in the contest led to a 60-54 victory for St. Amant.

“Credit Hahnville. I knew that when we scheduled them it would be a playoff-caliber game right when we needed it,” Lady Gator head coach Bianca Harvey said. “I’m proud of the way the girls fought back, and that lets them know that no matter what the score is, no matter how much we’re down, we have the capability to fight back and win the ball game.”

It was an ugly start to the game for St. Amant. The Lady Gators turned the ball over in bunches, and they were badly out-rebounded by Hahnville, but they only trailed 10-8 after one.

In the second quarter, Thornton went to work. She completed an and-one play and then drilled a 3-pointer to lead the Lady Gators on a 12-1 run that put them up nine.

However, the Lady Tigers responded. Hahnville put together a rally of their own. They ended the half on a 14-5 spurt that tied the game at 25 for the break.

In the third quarter, the teams began trading blows, and there were four lead changes.

With St. Amant trailing by one point, Barrow scored six straight for the Lady Gators. It led to St. Amant taking a 44-41 advantage into the fourth quarter.

Two free throws by Thornton stretched the Lady Gator advantage to seven early in the period, but Hahnville came roaring back with an 8-0 run that gave them a one-point lead.

But from there, the game was dominated by Thornton and Barrow.

Thornton made a layup to regain a one-point edge for St. Amant. On the other end, she came up with a huge block.

That defensive gem turned the matchup for the Lady Gators. Barrow was able to go 4-4 from the free-throw line to put the game away.

“I think we settled down on defense. Offensively, we were in such a rush at certain points of the game, but I told them that when we’re patient and poised, things start to go our way,” Harvey said. “We don’t have a shot clock, so there’s no reason we should ever rush offensively.”

In the victory, both Thornton and Barrow scored 17 points. Caterina Byars netted 11, and Rylie Boudreaux chipped in with six.

The Lady Gators won their second straight District 5-5A championship last week. The win over Hahnville gave them their seventh consecutive victory overall.

“We’ve settled down. I think we’re finally finding our groove and our niche,” Harvey said. “We hit a bump at the middle of the season, so we took a step back and tried to figure out what we needed to work on. We tried to find something that was our identity, focus on that one thing and make that thing work. I think that has helped us a lot. It’s helped us settle down both offensively and defensively. We’ve hit our stride right when we need to.”