Lady Gators cruise past East Ascension for third straight win

Kyle Riviere
kriviere@weeklycitizen.com
St. Amant point guard Abby Diez had eight points in the Lady Gators' 45-29 win over East Ascension. Photo by DKMoon Photography.

Ever since dropping two straight district games, the St. Amant Lady Gators have been rolling.

Their 45-29 drubbing of archrival East Ascension last Thursday night pushed their win streak to three games. It was how they won the matchups that made the streak so impressive. They won the three contests by a combined margin of 63 points.

"I think the last few games have given us a little bit of a reality check, and they're finally realizing we have to value the basketball, run an offense and we are finally able to get the looks," St. Amant head coach Kristy Englade said. "I think that's the key to it. We've had some kids that have stepped up big, and our post players have been able to step up and give us a lot more. That's a huge help."

Against the Lady Spartans, St. Amant struggled a little bit in the first quarter--especially on defense as they gave up easy buckets right out of the gates. However, their defense clamped down from that point on--holding East Ascension to just 19 points in the final three quarters.

To start the game, Lyteryka Thomas came out with a hot hand. She quickly scored six points to give East Ascension a 10-8 lead. It was the last lead the Lady Spartans would hold.

Down two, the St. Amant defense finally begin making stops, and their offense fed off of it on the other end. They began a huge run that staggered East Ascension and never allowed them to fight back.

Abby Diez made a beautiful dish to Vanessa Thomas down low, and she finished it with a lay-in to put the Lady Gators up seven. The next time down, Thomas drilled a jumper to put St. Amant up nine.

Later, Diez nailed a 3-pointer to open up a 14-0 run for St. Amant--a run that gave them a 22-10 lead.

By the time the second quarter came to a close, East Ascension had been outscored 15-2 in the period and had endured a 20-2 Lady Gator run since East Ascension led 10-8 in the first. It all helped St. Amant carry a 28-12 advantage into the half.

With control of the game, the Lady Gators made things look easy.

The second half started with Vanessa Thomas scoring on a tough, contested lay-in to extend the St. Amant lead to 17.

After the Lady Gators slowed things down on offense and after both teams went cold from the field, St. Amant took a 36-20 advantage into the fourth.

Vanessa Thomas made a great pass to Kara Gremillion--setting up a wide-open lay-in to put the Gators up by 18.

Ne'Kyla Williams then drilled a 3-pointer to put the exclamation point on the effort as St. Amant went up by 20.

From there, they were able to close things out and capture the 45-29 victory.

The Lady Gator defense was able to hold the East Ascension offense in check.

Lyteryka Thomas was their leading scorer with eight, but she was held to just two points after the opening quarter. Jasmine Nicholas was the next leading scorer with five.

"I'm pleased with the defense but as a coach, you're always hoping for more. We have to keep working and keep trucking," Englade said. "I was pleased but at some points, I think we have to do a better job of finding our man and knowing where our man's at but other than that, a win's a win."

As for the St. Amant scoring, Vanessa Thomas and Gremillion led the way with 11 apiece. Diez chipped in with eight.

The third straight victory pushed St. Amant's overall record to 16-11 and 3-2 within the district.

"We've focused a lot on shooting. That's been a difference in terms of us being comfortable to take those outside shots," Englade said. "Against Woodlawn the other night, I've never seen us shoot like that. That's been a good change, and I think it's been our confidence as well."

The Lady Gators will try to keep the momentum going this Friday night as they visit St. Joseph's Academy. They lost a tough 51-45 decision to the Red Stickers in their first meeting.