Fourth-quarter run gives EA win over St. Amant
In a game that was filled with runs, it was only fitting that St. Amant and East Ascension's Friday night clash in the Gold Dome would end with one.
With the Gators up by one late in the game, the Spartans, sparked by their defense, finished the contest with an 11-0 flurry to escape St. Amant with a hard-fought 73-63 victory. It was East Ascension's 11th straight win.
"This is always a good game. It doesn't matter who's good or who's bad," Spartan head coach Tyler Turner said. "It's a rivalry, and emotions are always high. I was proud of our guys that they were able to focus, lock in for the full four quarters and finish the game off. That's an improvement for us, and I proud of them for that."
It didn't look like it would be a back-and-forth affair early on as East Ascension jumped all over St. Amant right out of the gates. Hobert Grayson and Camryn Carter each drilled 3-pointers to give them a 6-0 lead.
However, St. Amant responded with a 9-1 rally that put them ahead, 9-7.
A put-back dunk by Grayson helped regain the lead for East Ascension at the end of the quarter. They led, 19-18, heading to the second.
Connor Adams hit a trey to begin the second to give St. Amant a two-point lead, but then Cameron Dunbar responded with a triple of his own to give East Ascension a two-point advantage.
That set the tone for an exciting period where the two teams exchanged blows. They went into the half tied at 33.
A 3-pointer by Trace Forbes sparked a 7-0 run for the Gators to begin the third quarter, but East Ascension responded with a 6-0 run to cut the deficit to one.
St. Amant then unleashed a 7-1 spurt that gave them a seven-point lead, but East Ascension countered with a 7-0 tear to tie the game.
The contest was deadlocked at 53 heading to the fourth quarter.
Midway through the final period, Destin Barker came up with a put-back to give St. Amant a one-point lead.
But from there, it was all East Ascension.
Grayson slashed to the basket and made a layup to give the Spartans a one-point lead. Carter then came up with a steal and finished with a dunk to put them up three.
Javon Carter added a bucket down low to stretch the lead to five, and to put the game out of reach, Grayson came up with a steal and got the ball to Camryn Carter, who finished with a dunk.
In the end, it amounted to an 11-0 run that netted East Ascension the 10-point victory.
"We played solid defense," Turner said. "In the first three quarters, we were gambling a lot. We would trap, but then we would shoot gaps that we didn't need to shoot. We stopped gambling and stayed solid there on defense in the fourth quarter."
The Spartans were led by Dunbar as he poured in 23. Next in line was Grayson with 19 and Camryn Carter with 17. Javon Carter added six.
St. Amant was paced by Barker as he scored 20. Adams had 14, Jerome Johnson scored 13 and Forbes chipped in with 12.
It was the 11th straight win for East Ascension as their record improved to 19-6 overall, but it hasn't all been easy for the Spartans. Three of their last four victories have come by a total of 22 points.
"I pray that games like this will help us when it comes to tough district games and the playoffs," Turner said. "The last three or four games that we've played, it's been playoff-like atmospheres. The guys have been able to focus and pull it off, so I'm hoping this will help us benefit down the line."