ST. AMANT — Seventh-ranked East Ascension got the one last surge it needed, and St. Amant ran out of steam in the last six minutes after making a big comeback.
That was the ebb and flow as EAHS prevailed 64-59 in the battle for second place in District 5-5A at The Gold Dome on Friday night.
East Ascension (22-3, 4-1) took the lead late in the second quarter and led by as many as eight points in the third quarter before St. Amant went on a 7-3 run to take a 53-52 lead with 6:01 left in the game.
EAHS then recaptured the momentum and held St. Amant (18-7, 3-2) to a Jonavon Lewis 3-pointer. The Spartans hit five free throws to ice the win.
“Hopefully we’ll learn something tonight about how to win this kind of game,” East Ascension coach Kenny Almond said. “Early in the year, we were winning some games that weren’t easy wins. But we had a pretty good margin, and then we didn’t get to practice for this kind of game. Now that we’ve been beat a few times maybe we’ll learn something from those close losses.”
St. Amant was outsized and had no answer for 6-foot-8 post man Ja’Cardo Hawkins, who had 31 points, mostly from close range. His game included three powerful dunks, one a two-handed stuff on a rebound, and two three-point plays.
Most of the night he was surrounded by two and three players, and on one play fought his way through four Gators to the basket.
Hawkins had outside help from Javaughn Williams, who added 16 points with 12 of them coming on four 3-pointers.
The first half started slow for the Spartans as Hawkins was the only Spartan to get going early. He registered the first six points for EAHS, while Dominique Wilmore and Brandon Guillory shot St. Amant out to a 15- 8 lead. At that point, Williams got started and tallied eight first-quarter points. His 3-pointer put the Gators up 21-17, and they led 21-19 after one quarter.
“In this game, usually one team is going to start good and one team is going to be over-excited,” Almond said. “They controlled their excitement and started good, and we didn’t. When we slowed it down, we started playing a little better.”
The Spartans led 34-32 at halftime and 50-46 after three quarters.
“I thought our guys played extremely well for what we were having to play against,” St. Amant coach Gary Duhe said. “We had a couple of key turnovers that hurt us, and we had a breakdown on defense where they got a little separation. We knew it would be this type of game, and we’d have to cut down on the little mistakes, but we had a few more of them than they did.”
Wilmore led the Gators with 26 points and four 3-pointers, followed by Donald LeBlanc with 20 points and another four 3-pointers.
“Dominique has been playing really well the last couple of games,” Duhe said. “Donald is special, and Mason Clouarte is a good player. And we know what we’ll get from them, but Dominique has given us another option.”