St. Amant defense dominates in win over Tigers

Kyle Riviere
St. Amant's Tyrone Johnson (No. 42) blocks Donaldsonville guard Corey Brooks' shot during the Gators' 54-40 win. Photo by Kyle Riviere.

St. Amant came into Friday night's matchup with parish foe Donaldsonville looking to avoid dropping back-to-back games for the first time all season.

They were able to do just that with tenacious defense that forced the Tigers into a bevy of turnovers throughout the game. The Gator effort put an end to a three-game Donaldsonville win streak, handing them a 54-40 loss in the Gold Dome.

"We had a great game plan defensively," St. Amant head coach Travis Uzee said. "They're really tough to defend because they have some really good guards, and their big man is tough. Donaldsonville is really good, but we stepped up to the challenge. We knew what we were up against; we knew we had to win some ball games.

"Our kids battled, and that's what we wanted them to do. We knew it was going to take an entire game's effort to do that. To beat a team like that, it's a great win for us."

The teams were headed in different directions coming into the contest. St. Amant had lost two of their previous three games. Donaldsonville had won seven of their previous eight.

However, from the very start, St. Amant was in control on Friday night.

The Gators jumped out to a 7-3 lead in what was a very sloppy first quarter. A drive and layup by Connor Adams gave them a 10-8 advantage after one.

St. Amant then took command in the second quarter. A jumper by KJ Franklin opened up a 10-point lead for the Gators.

Gavin Harris then got hot. He came up with a quick five-point flurry that gave St. Amant a 26-13 lead at halftime.

Donaldsonville didn't go quietly. They began the third quarter on an 8-0 run to trim the deficit to just five points.

St. Amant extended the lead, and Corey Brooks drilled a 3-pointer to get the Tigers within five once again.

Franklin then scored five straight points for the Gators to end the third quarter. It gave St. Amant a 36-26 advantage heading to the fourth.

"Being up 13 at halftime, you're in good shape, but I know as a coach that Donaldsonville is going to come out swinging in the third quarter, and they did. What I'm most proud of is how we battled back after making some terrible plays," Uzee said.

To begin the final period, Terrel Brown knocked down a trey to get the Tigers within five again, but that's as close as they would get.

Troy Dunn sank a jumper to extend the Gator lead to nine, and Franklin came up with a transition layup to put the game away.

"It's been a rollercoaster. I envisioned this coming in with our youth and inexperience. We need guys like KJ there at the end to put games away, and that's exactly what he did," Uzee said. "He has to carry us a little bit more down those stretches--not that he doesn't want to. He really does. I knew this would be a tough stretch for our team. I'm very proud of our effort. The question is if we can duplicate this."

Franklin scored 13, but the Gators' leading scorer was Harris with a game-high 15. Javin Augillard chipped in with seven.

The Gators were able to stymie two big-time scorers for Donaldsonville. Big man Everette Wilson was limited to just seven points. Brown had just nine.

The loss dropped the Tigers to 14-7 overall.

The Tigers will be on the road again on Monday night against Baker.

As for St. Amant, the win improved them to 13-7 overall.

They'll host Assumption on Tuesday night.