Three-pointers and defense keep Gators undefeated

Kyle Riviere
St. Amant's Jerome Turner (No. 40) comes up with a block in the Gators' 72-59 win over Terrebonne. Photo by Kyle Riviere.

St. Amant didn’t take many 3-pointers on Thursday night, but when they did, the Gators made them count.

St. Amant hit 10 treys against Terrebonne in the John “Hot Rod” Williams Gold Dome Classic at Dutchtown—six coming from K.J. Franklin—and sprinkled in some tenacious defense to stay undefeated with a comfortable 72-59 victory.

"They came out in a zone, so we took a deep breath and just did what we do. He had a few good looks early, struggled for a few minutes and then got into a rhythm,” Gator head coach Travis Uzee said. “When they started playing man, I think that plays into our attacking mode and our shooting ability. Our bigs were hustling and battling and playing hard for the team."

To begin the season, St. Amant had a skeleton crew of only eight players, but with the end of football season, they’ve gotten some reinforcements. Franklin is back at guard and Justin Gibson is back as their starting forward.

This has given the Gators some much-needed depth, and with the addition of an all-district player like Franklin, it has given them some more offensive firepower.

These players helped the Gators race out to a lead early.

The first quarter was sloppy with some physical play from both teams, but a jumper by Jimmie Pittman gave St. Amant a 10-8 advantage heading into the second period.

That’s when Richard Donaldson came off of the bench and gave them a huge boost.

Uzee said that Donaldson was a starter and played 95 percent of the Gators’ minutes before their football players returned. He said that now, he has become a great sixth man for his team that can come in and provide them with instant offense.

Donaldson entered the game in the second quarter and scored 13 straight points for the Gators. Nine of those points came on three 3-pointers.

This spurt gave St. Amant their biggest lead of the game at 24-16.

Franklin added another trey, and Jahnoi Daley converted a coast-to-coast drive and layup to give the Gators a 34-23 advantage at the break.

The second quarter belonged to Donaldson, but the third was Franklin’s.

Franklin caught the hot hand and hit four 3-pointers in the eight-minute stretch.

Along with St. Amant’s opportunistic defense that continuously created turnovers, the Gators were able to take a commanding 55-38 advantage into the fourth.

Terrebonne went on an 11-5 run to start the final period and cut the deficit down to 11, but that’s as close as they would come.

St. Amant was able to put the game away and collect their sixth victory of the year.

Franklin led all scorers with 19 points on the strength of his six treys.

Daley was close behind with 15, Donaldson had 14 and Pittman added 11.

The victory improved St. Amant to a perfect 6-0. Coach Uzee said that he thinks this undefeated streak to begin the season has a lot to do with his team’s cohesiveness.

"I really think that these kids like to play together,” Uzee said. “We have fun at practice, and they're buying into the fact that if they play hard together, good things are going to happen. That's where we are. We started the year with eight guys, and now we've added a few more to the mix. We have a few more tough games ahead, and we're just going to give it our all."