BASKETBALL

A flat start leads to blowout loss for Gators at Spartan Classic

Kyle Riviere
kriviere@weeklycitizen.com
Destrehan's Trey Jones scores on a contested lay-in over St. Amant's Elliot Turner (No. 50) and Richard Williams (No. 42). Photo by Dewey Keller.

For the second straight game, St. Amant got off to a sluggish start but this time around, they couldn't recover.

The Gators began the Spartan Classic with a flat start that allowed Destrehan to jump out to a 10-2 advantage. St. Amant never recovered as the Wildcats cruised to an emphatic 70-46 victory.

"We didn't come out with much intensity after some good practices over the holidays and a good shoot-around today," Gator head coach Travis Uzee said. "We were behind the whole time. It was tough, and we didn't communicate very well on the court."

St. Amant was still without a key cog down low in Crandell Christoff and for the second straight game, his presence was greatly missed as the Gators were soundly out-rebounded.

The start of the game couldn't have been much worse for St. Amant. Destrehan quickly jumped out to a 7-0 advantage as the Gators missed many open 3-pointers.

Courtney Julien did his best to keep St. Amant in it as he scored the first seven points for the Gators and cut the deficit to 12-7.

However, the Wildcats quickly delivered an answer as David Green scored six straight to give them their biggest lead of the game at 18-7.

Sloppy play by St. Amant and a big edge in rebounding allowed Destrehan to stretch the lead to 21-8 heading to the second quarter.

Julien continued to keep the Gators within reach as he nailed a 3-pointer to cut the deficit to 25-16. He scored 15 of St. Amant's first 16 points.

But his scoring barrage could do no good for St. Amant because Green continued to dominate down low for the Wildcats. He hit two straight buckets to give Destrehan their biggest lead of the game at 14.

The Wildcats' tenacious defense resulted in plenty of steals and with a big 3-pointer by Preston Guidry at the end of the half, Destrehan was able to take a 37-21 advantage into the half.

It started to get ugly in the third. Just as they started the first half, the Wildcats started the second with a 7-0 run to jump the advantage to 23.

Nick Griffin was able to sink three 3-pointers in the second half, but St. Amant could never get the lead trimmed under 17.

Green got a big and-one play down low in the fourth to jump the advantage back to 20 and with Destrehan's domination in the paint and on the glass, the Wildcats were able to run away with the easy 70-46 victory.

"We turned it over 11 times in the first half and another 11 times in the second half," Uzee said. "We know we're missing a guy that rebounds for us, but we have to have guys that are going to step up and make up that difference. Otherwise, it's going to be difficult."

Green led the way for the Wildcats as he collected 21 points. Trey Jones also had a strong effort with 13.

Meanwhile, Julien poured in 28 for St. Amant, but the rest of the team could only muster 18. Griffin scored nine of those points with his three 3-pointers.

It was a tough holiday for the Gators. Three days before Christmas, they collected an ugly win over Mentorship Academy and on Friday night, they were dealt the blowout defeat by Destrehan.

"We have to find some guys that are going to give the effort consistently, and we just have to execute. We have to play better," Uzee said.

The Gators played much better the next day. They were able to bounce back with a 65-49 win over Redemptorist to up their overall record to 9-6.