Ascension Athletics for June 16, 2016 _lowres

Lyle Johnson

The St. Amant Lady Gators basketball season is right on track, sporting a 13-8 record as of Jan. 10.

Head coach Kristy Englade said the season is going “just about like we expected at this point. We’ve lost a couple of close games that maybe should have gone our way. But it’s a learning process because of the lack of experience on our team this year.”

St. Amant starts four seniors and one sophomore when the Gators take the court and is led by Nekyla Williams, who is averaging 12 points a game, followed closely by Vanessa Thomas, who averages 10 points per game.

“We depend on Nekyla Williams to help lead our team on the floor,” Englade said.

A pleasant surprise has been the play of sophomore Megan Melancon.

“Megan found her way into the starting lineup after coming from the volleyball team, and we use her coming off the bench and contributing,” the coach said.

As far as the rest of the season, Englade said the goal is to make postseason play.

“From the looks of it, our district is going to be pretty competitive, so I think each night is going to be a battle. The district championship could truly go to anyone, but I’m obviously planning for it to come back home to St. Amant.”

The Lady Gators will have played their first district game against Broadmoor by the time they travel to Dutchtown on Thursday for varsity/JV contests with tipoff slated for 5:30 p.m. Then they will travel to McKinley to face the Panthers on Tuesday for varsity and junior varsity games starting at 5:30 p.m.

Lady Spartans seeking focus

At this stage in their season, the Lady Spartans find themselves at 8-8 and are struggling a little to find their way, according to head coach Dennis Chandler.

“We’ve lost five close games that could have gone our way and that is the difference between where we are and where we should be,” Chandler said.

“We are trying to coach up these girls to find an on-court leader but that’s not always an easy thing to do. The team is a work in progress both offensively and defensively, and the staff and I are working with our young players, as well,” the coach said.

As far as how the rest of the season goes, the coach said hard work, teamwork and the elimination of errors should put them in a good spot.

“My job is to prepare the team to compete each night, play hard, play together, play by the rules and to display good sportsmanship at all times. If we can do that, then I believe everything else will fall into place,” Chandler said.

The Spartans will have opened district play facing the McKinley Panthers at home by press time and will travel to Broadmoor to play the Lady Buccaneers with a 6 p.m. tipoff Thursday. St. Joseph’s Academy will come to Gonzales in another district game Jan. 19 with tipoff at 5:30 p.m.

Lady Griffins top Lady Gators

In a hotly contested soccer match at St. Amant, the girls from Dutchtown handed the girls from St. Amant a 2-1 defeat. The Griffins scored one goal in each half and tightened up the defense to keep the Gators scoreless in the second half.

The first half ended in a 1-1 tie. St. Amant played its usual wide-open style but could not find the goal. The Griffins tightened up on their defense in the second half. The Gators had several opportunities in the final period, missing on two good shots and were held away by the Griffins more than one time.

The Griffins capitalized on a corner kick for their first goal in the first half as freshman Riley Ely tossed a perfect service to Lauren Bercegeay at the far post, and Bercegeay put it in with a head shot from 10 feet out.

St. Amant tied the game 1-1 with a 12-yard shot from the near post by freshman Adelaide Gaffney, one of four freshmen to start for the Lady Gators. The winning goal was scored by senior Grace Miller with an assist from junior Rayna Gunter.

Dutchtown’s defensive effort was spearheaded by senior goalie Sophia McNulty.

By press time, the Lady Gators (10-5-1, 1-1) will have hosted Hahnville for a district match on Tuesday and then will travel to Destrehan for another district match at 5 p.m. Friday.

Calling all bass anglers

The sixth annual Fishing for Tucker Bass Tournament will be held Feb. 6, with the weigh-in to be held at Cabela’s in Gonzales. This very popular bass tournament is put on the by Ascension Area Anglers to raise money for the medical expenses of Tucker Townsend.

The day starts off with a kids’ fishing derby from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Cabela’s pond with a $15 entry fee. A live weigh-in will begin at 1 p.m. Age groups are 3-5, 6-8, 9-11, 12-14 and great prizes will be awarded to the winners of each group.

The big party begins when the teams return from a day’s fishing to weigh in their stringers of bass. There will be a drive-through weigh-in that’s sure to wow the crowd. Last year’s winners, Tyler Teague and Teal Smith, brought 16.86 pounds to the scales that earned them the $2,500 first-place payoff and had a 6.09-pound big bass that earned them an additional $500.

The entry fee for the pick-your-partner event is $100 per boat. “There were 126 boats participating in the event in 2015 and we’re looking to increase that number this year,” tournament director Ryan Lavigne said.

There will be a captain’s meeting at Cabela’s at 6 p.m. on Feb. 4. Entries will be taken until that night. After the captain’s meeting, any entries will be subject to a $25 late fee. Call Ryan Lavigne at (225) 921-9332 or Eddie Hymel at (225) 610-9962 or visit fishingfortucker.com for information.

There will be jambalaya on hand, as well as a bake sale to help support the cause. A raffle will take place during the weigh-in with lots of prizes, so come out and support the cause on that Saturday.

Lyle Johnson covers sports for The Ascension Advocate. He can be contacted at reelman@eatel.net or ascension @theadvocate.com.