St. Amant survives Dutchtown in district clash

Kyle Riviere
Kara Gremillion was one of three Lady Gators to score in double-figures as she netted 14. Photo by Dewey Keller.

Dutchtown made a hard charge late to make things interesting but in the end, St. Amant sank their free throws and iced away a hard-fought 52-43 win on Thursday night.

The Lady Gators dominated most of the game and led by 19 at halftime but behind hot shooting from Kyra Harleaux, the Lady Griffins cut the deficit to as little as four points before St. Amant was finally able to close things out.

"I just felt we came out a little flat; Dutchtown came out, and they were ready to play. They came at us," Lady Gator head coach Kristy Englade said. "Fortunately, we were able to finish it, but it had me a little worried there for a minute."

After a sloppy start for St. Amant, Jaci Lavigne and Ne'Kyla Williams each connected on 3-point attempts to give the Lady Gators a 14-9 lead heading into the second quarter.

It was just the start of an epic run by St. Amant that quickly turned the game into an apparent blowout.

The Lady Gators really turned up the defensive heat and began to harass the Dutchtown ball-handlers--causing them to turn the ball over in bunches.

Many of those turnovers were caused by Kara Gremillion. On back-to-back possessions, she stole the ball and finished it off with a breakaway lay-in.

It all contributed to an amazing 23-2 run by St. Amant that put them up 29-10 at the half in what looked to be a laugher.

"Kara came out and got a couple of steals. She got her hands on the ball and was able to make the deflection and execute, and we're able to go up," Englade said. "Those were key. It was key for us to get that lead."

That lead remained in the third because the Lady Gators continued to play tenacious defense. To start the second half, Gremillion and Lavigne each made steals and scored on breakaway lay-ins.

To keep it from getting out of hand, Harleaux nailed a 3-pointer, and LaShon Redditt made a lay-up at the buzzer to cut the deficit to 39-25 heading into the fourth quarter.

In the final period, the Lady Gators didn't force as many turnovers, and they suddenly fell in love with the 3-point shot offensively. Unfortunately for them, the treys weren't falling.

However, they began falling for the Lady Griffins. Harleaux nailed two big 3-pointers that helped ignite a 15-2 run that cut the St. Amant lead to 45-40.

Williams sank two clutch free throws, but Dutchtown answered right back with a put-back by Redditt that turned into a three-point play.

But with the lead down to four points, Gremillion added on two more free throws and on the other end, Jordan Hartman made the Lady Gators' biggest steal of the night to seal the win.

In the victory, St. Amant saw three players score in double-figures. Gremillion and Williams each led the way with 14 apiece, and Hartman added 10.

As for Dutchtown, Redditt and Harleaux accounted for 37 of their 43 points. Redditt had a game-high 19 with Harleaux right behind her with 18.

"Their post was killing us at first and then, No. 4 (Harleaux) comes out and starts hitting a bunch of threes," Englade said. "You start looking, and you've had the lead for so long, you start getting complacent, and complacency got to us. Fortunately, we were able to make those final free throws, and that helped us out tremendously."

The win was St. Amant's fifth straight, and it improved their record to 16-6. Conversely, it was the Lady Griffins' fifth loss in their last seven contests as it dropped their overall record to 11-11.