The St. Amant Gators hosted the Gold Dome Shootout over the weekend, winning three of the four games they played.

St. Amant is 7-3 on the season and opened with Hammond, notching a 71-55 win over the Tornadoes. Game two found the Gators pitted against the East Feliciana Tigers. This was a close contest as St. Amant held on for a 58-52 victory.

The third contest was against Airline of Bossier City. The Vikings are a good team and would test the young Gators. The Gators had to come from a 16-point deficit with six minutes left in the game to steal the win from Airline 71-67 in overtime.

“The game against Airline was the most intense game I’ve ever been involved in my whole coaching career,” said head coach Travis Uzee. “We found a way to come from behind and win in overtime. As a matter of fact, we were behind in six of the seven wins we have and in three of them, we were behind in double digits.”

Game four turned out to be the only loss of the weekend as the Thibodaux Tigers handed the Gators a 70-45 loss.

The Gators have a young team without a returning starter, although Travis Cole and Nick Fehn rotated the fifth man position last season.

“Travis and Nick have plenty of game time but neither was a real starter last season,” Uzee said. “But they will bring us some experience and floor leadership.”

Freshman K.J. Franklin is one of the new players that will start this season and expects to be an impact player from the start. Sophomore Jahnoi Daley Has had a five- or six-game stretch where he’s really shined. Three other juniors are on the starting roster: Carter Templet, Cole and Kameron Kelson.

Cole averages 12.7 points per game with 4.7 rebounds, which is pretty healthy for a guard. Kelson is a junior forward who is averaging 10.6 points per game and a respectable 7.5 rebounds. Templet is averaging 8.9 points, Franklin, 8.7 points, and Daley, 6.5 points.

Daley has been the catalyst on the defense and Fehn is tough playing the ball as well, but he hasn’t been healthy for the past week. The Gators have a really balanced scoring attack, with one guy stepping up each game, and it might be a different guy each time out.

Fehn, the only senior, is a good leader who will be team captain as well. Cole and Franklin are the starting point guards who play at the same time.

“We have a young team without a lot of experience but a very talented team,” Uzee said. “But what I value the most is that we have some good kids. They want to get better, they like playing and just hanging out with each other. This is what will make us a success.

“This is sort of a rebuilding year of sorts, but we expect to be very competitive,” Uzee added.

Griffins play in Gator Shootout

The Dutchtown Griffins played three games in the St. Amant Gold Dome Shootout and came away with two wins and a single loss. The Griffins opened the event with a win over the Woodlawn Panthers, 56-43.

The second contest was a blowout against the Hammond Tornadoes with the final score of 66-36. The last game was the only loss of the tournament against the Airline Vikings 58-50. The leading scorer for the Griffins was junior guard Neill Caldwell. The leading rebounder was 6-foot-4-inch junior guard Aaron Hodoh.

The 3-4 Griffins are a young team without one returning starter.

“We’re young in so many ways,” said head coach Patrick Hill. “Neill Caldwell logged a lot of minutes, along with junior forward Devin Jackson, so we are not without some experience on the floor.

“On the offensive side, Neill Caldwell is the most consistent scorer we have right now. Starting to emerge as being aggressive with the basketball looking to score is Aaron Hodoh along with senior guard Tim Hasten,” Hill said. “Sophomore guard Jacolby Ambeau is coming around as well.

“What we’re looking for on offense is two guys to score in double digits every game and that would give us 20 points or more,” Hill said. “They rest of the points will have to come by committee, each other player contributing a few points. We are going to be a mid-40 to low-50s points a game. I don’t think we can score 60 to 70 points a game.”

At this point, with seven games under their hat, Hill is pleased with their defensive effort overall. “Devin Jackson is playing well on defense as well as Aaron Hodoh is rebounding the ball well. Junior guard Kendrick Oubre is helping the defensive effort as well.”

Hill said he expects improvement.

“My assessment of our team at this point is that our players have the will to get better,” he said. “They take my constructive criticism well and use it to get better. They are taking time on their own on the court and in class to get better. It’s going to be a tough but learning season and we will improve with each game because the guys want to.”

Fly-tying lessons at library

Master fly-tying expert Darrell Crawford will be hosting demonstrations and giving lessons on how to tie your own fly baits. They will include tying lures for freshwater as well as saltwater for just about every species of fish an angler might want to catch.

Fly fishing has caught on like wildfire in the past few years so the interest in tying your own fly is a pretty neat idea with lots of advantages. Uniqueness is one of them; when you get some experience, you can tie them the way you want to instead of having to buy only what’s available.

Another is cost. Buying them can be a little expensive as some of the better flies are a bit pricey. Buying the equipment and supplies will cost some money but it pays off in the long run. These demonstrations and lessons are open to the public at no cost.

The workshop will be held at the Ascension Parish Library at 708 S. Irma Blvd. in Gonzales from 9 a.m. to noon. Call the library at (225) 647-3955. The classes will be held on Jan. 9, Feb. 13, March 12 and April 9. Call Crawford at (225) 644-7989.

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