Dunham again hands Gators defeat

Kyle Riviere
kriviere@weeklycitizen.com
St. Amant's Kameron Kelson defends Dunham's Jordan Wright in the Gators' 57-49 loss to Dunham. Photo by Kyle Riviere.

For the second time this season, St. Amant faced off against Dunham in tournament action, and for the second time, the Gators fell a little short.

In St. Amant’s first taste of the Episcopal tournament (played at Dunham due to Episcopal’s gym still receiving repairs, as a result of the August flood), they fell victim to a 3-point drought, while Dunham consistently reigned down treys in a 57-49 victory.

“Give credit to them. They played a good game. They deserved to beat us in this one,” Gator head coach Travis Uzee said. “It was a war. It was tough. I think there were a few points in the game that could have swung either way, and I felt like they didn’t swing our direction at any time. That’s just the way it goes sometimes. We’ll move on.”

The two teams had previously met in the John “Hot Rod” Williams Gold Dome Classic last month. Dunham took that one by a score of 68-63.

This time around, it looked like St. Amant was well on its way to evening the score early.

To start the game, Dunham went ice cold from the field and the Gator defense was forcing multiple turnovers that were leading to easy buckets.

A steal that turned into a Kameron Kelson transition layup gave them an early 10-3 lead.

However, the Tigers answered right back with a 10-2 run. A 3-pointer by Salle Wilson gave them a 13-12 lead.

Kelson answered with an and-one play to give St. Amant a 15-13 advantage heading into the second. Kelson scored 9 of the Gators’ 15 first-quarter points.

Two more 3-pointers helped Dunham build a 6-point lead in the second, and missed free throws made it hard for St. Amant to catch up. They went just 4-8 from the line in the quarter.

After two more treys by the Tigers, they were able to outscore the Gators, 16-4, in the period and take a 29-19 lead into the half.

Dunham kept rolling in the second half. A quick 6-2 run to start the third helped them build up the biggest lead of the game at 14.

Just when it looked like it was heading for a blowout, K.J. Franklin came alive for St. Amant.

He hit the Gators’ only 3-pointer of the game and later made two free throws that contributed to an 11-4 Gator run to end the third quarter.

They were down just 44-38 heading into the fourth.

Franklin kept the hot hand as he completed an and-one play to cut the deficit to 4, and Travis Cole made a layup to get St. Amant within 2.

But that’s as close as the Gators would get.

Jordan Wright’s 10 second-half points gave Dunham a big boost as they closed out the 57-49 victory.

The difference in the game was 3-point shooting. The Tigers made nine, while the Gators could only sink one.

“It really killed us the entire game. We were 1-12 from the 3-point line,” Uzee said. “That’s not like us, but we didn’t do a very good job of taking good ones. That’s what put us in a bind. We can make them when they’re good ones, but when they’re not, the percentage goes down and it makes it tough.”

St. Amant was led by Franklin—who scored 17.

After a 9-point first quarter, Kelson was limited to just one field goal for the rest of the game. He finished with 13, and Cole chipped in with 8.

Wilson led all scorers as he poured in 21—which included four 3-pointers.

Wright scored all 10 of his points in the second half.

“They’re really good,” Uzee said. “I think what’s tough about them is that [Jordan Wright] can create so many opportunities for the other kids, and then they have all these guys that stand near the 3-point line and make shots. It makes it tough. You have to get in there and help against those drives, and you have to get out and defend that 3-point line. That’s a tough thing to do in basketball.”

Like in their previous two tournaments, the Gators were able to rebound after first-game losses.

They ended the event with wins against parish foe Ascension Catholic and West Feliciana to improve their overall record to 14-5.