St. Amant remains perfect against St. Joseph's

Kyle Riviere
kriviere@weeklycitizen.com
Ne'Kyla Williams scored seven in St. Amant's 44-41 win over St. Joseph's. Photo by Dewey Keller.

The St. Amant Lady Gators kept their district record unblemished last Thursday night at home, but they did it the hard way.

They were forced to play catch-up for much of the second half until they finally regained the lead midway through the fourth quarter. From there, they closed out a hard-fought 44-41 win over St. Joseph's Academy to remain perfect.

"It's great. These kids have a lot of fight in them," St. Amant head coach Kristy Englade said. "To the end, these kids are phenomenal. They're major, major competitors, and I think that that's what helps us in most of these situations when we do something bad."

The Lady Gators weren't doing anything wrong in the first quarter.

They drilled three 3-pointers to start things off; this included a long-range trey from the top of the key by Jaci Lavigne that went in as time expired. The shot gave St. Amant a 13-8 lead heading into the second quarter.

Lavigne kept the hot hand as she made another 3-pointer to extend the Lady Gator lead to eight.

It looked like they were primed to blow the Red Stickers out of the Gold Dome, but St. Joseph's never blinked.

They really cranked up their zone defense and on the other end, shots began to fall.

Kat Carter knocked down two straight buckets to complete an 11-0 run for the Red Stickers as they charged out to a 23-19 lead at the half.

"I was a little concerned because I felt that we've started off slow for the last three games," Englade said. "We came in and got fired up and went up like we did in the first quarter, but then they started battling back."

Kara Gremillion tried to get the momentum back for St. Amant to start the second half as she made a steal, ignited a fastbreak and dished it to Lavigne for a lay-in to tie the game.

But St. Joseph's came right back with two straight baskets to regain the lead. They took a 30-27 advantage into the fourth quarter.

To start the final period, both teams traded shots, but the Lady Gators finally began to grasp control with another key steal by Gremillion.

She snatched the ball and hustled down the court. Her shot was missed, but Jordan Hartman was right there for the put-back to give St. Amant the lead.

After St. Joseph's regained the advantage, Lavigne tied it with a drive down the lane and on their next possession, Hartman nailed a huge mid-range jumper to give St. Amant a 37-35 advantage.

It was a lead the Lady Gators never lost. Their defense intensified, and Lavigne came up with a big steal that resulted in two clutch free throws.

With the four-point advantage, St. Amant was able to close out the 44-41 win.

Lavigne led the Lady Gators with a game-high 15 points while Gremillion chipped in with 10.

As for St. Joseph's, Caroline Olivier led the charge with 11, and Carter added 10.

"I think the difference in the fourth quarter was that we were a little more patient, we were able to attack the seams of the zone and we were able to get some kids open in the middle of the court," Englade said. "I think that deflated them a little bit, and it put a spark underneath us."

The come-from-behind victory was the Lady Gators' 11th straight, and it pushed them out to a perfect 8-0 record in district play.

At 23-5 overall, St. Amant will brace for their season finale at home on Friday night against Woodlawn--a team they beat 52-29 less than two weeks ago.