East St. John extended its winning streak by pummeling Karr 73-46 in the second round of the Newman Invitational tournament on Thursday night.

The Wildcats tightened their defensive grip in the second half and never relinquished the lead. Coach Yussef Jasmine said he was pleased with the way his team responded to adversity.

“I was really proud of the way my guys played despite the multiple turnovers,” Jasmine said. “We knew Karr was very athletic and would press a lot.

“We struggled initially, but we made the necessary adjustments to get the win. This team is constantly getting better as the games pass. We will continue to work hard, because we are nowhere near our potential.”

With the offense running mostly through junior Troy Green, the Wildcats limited the turnovers in the second half.

The offense started to run primarily through Green and allowed Tre’Von Jasmine to explode for a game-high 26 points.

Jasmine was clutch from the free-throw line, where he was a perfect 6 for 6. East St. John also shot well from beyond the 3-point line. Arlandrian Bailey Jr. gave his team the edge while knocking down four 3-pointers. He finished with 15 points and six assists.

Karr’s full-court press defense forced the Wildcats into 15 first-half turnovers. Raekwon Bush got the scoring started early for the Cougars and finished the night with 10 points. His tight defense resulted in four steals. Unfortunately for Karr coach Tauras Howard, his team’s effort wasn’t enough down the stretch.

“We didn’t do a good job of converting off turnovers and it hurt us,” Howard said. “We had them rattled early, but couldn’t capitalize on the easy points. They eventually made the adjustments and started to pull away from us.

“They shot the ball pretty well and we didn’t. That’s what it comes down to at the end of the day.”

The Wildcats will play the winner of the Newman vs. John Ehret contest on Friday.

HELEN COX 64, BROTHER MARTIN 61: Helen Cox overcame a 10-point deficit to top Brother Martin in the second round of the Newman Invitational.

Brother Martin’s Venjie Wallis’ missed a free throw to tie the game with less than a minute to play, ultimately opening the door for Helen Cox. Kajon Brown added two free throws to secure Cox’s three-point victory.

With 3:23 left to play, the Crusaders were leading 54-44 and looking to turn the lights out on the Cougars. Suddenly Cox’s Roydell Brown scored back-to-back baskets to essentially flip the switch for his team.

After each team traded baskets, the Cougars closed the gap to two points. Kajon Brown and Jeremy Treaudo hit consecutive 3-pointers to tie the game at 60-60.

Marlain Veal led the Cougars in scoring with 15 points. Tyler Jackson added 14. Kajon and Roydell Brown scored 13 and 12 points, respectively.

Venjie Wallis led the Crusaders with 21 points and four blocked shots. Luke Walker scored 12 and Irv Smith added 11 points.