This one was over before it ever started.
East St. John downed tournament host Newman 52-30 on Friday to advance to Saturday’s final.
Helen Cox will face East St. John on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. for the Newman Invitational Tournament Championship.
East St. John’s transition offense proved to be too much for the Greenies. After falling behind by 26 at halftime they would never get closer than 20.
Wildcats coach Yussef Jasmine was confident that his team could distance itself through fast break points.
“We got behind early, but we made the necessary adjustments to play our type of game,” Jasmine said. “I got on our kids and they responded well. I think once we started converting, we gained our confidence.”
The Wildcats got a huge lift from backup point guard Raekwon McKnight, who poured in 14 points and added four steals. His teammate Tra’Von Jasmine tacked on 13 points to help extend the lead to double figures. Jasmine also drew the task of guarding Newman’s Peter Drennan. Drennan finished with 10 points but was held scoreless in the second half.
After the game, Newman coach Jimmy Tillette alluded to the adjustments made to slow down their offense.
“We wanted to slow the game down and limit the use of their athleticism,” Tillette said. “We started out OK, but they made changes to counter what we did. We didn’t keep up after that. We knew what could happen if they got loose, but unfortunate we just didn’t make the stops.”
The Greenies started the game even keel with the Wildcats and closed out he first quarter tied 12-12. Cass Lapeyre scored nine points and recorded three assists. This was short-lived as the Wildcats went on a 20-2 run to lead at halftime 32-14.
Troy Green scored 10 points for the Wildcats and registered 4 blocks. Jordan Perry added another 5 points.
East St. John extended its winning streak to seven games and will face Helen Cox on Saturday in the final.
The semifinal game between St. Augustine and Helen Cox is arguably the most anticipated matchup of the tourney thus far. The hype surrounding the two teams was enormous and the ending did not disappoint.
Jeremy Treaudo’s 3-pointer with just under two minutes to play put the Cougars up 49-44. Treaudo continued to hit big shots down the stretch and finished with 19 points.
The Purple Knights would rally late to pull with 3 points with 58 seconds left. Senior Charles Brown would make to key free throws to make it a one possession game at 49-52. Despite the Knights’ successful defensive stop and final possession they would fall short as time expired.
Marlain Veal would add to late free throws to secure his team’s victory 54-49. Veal would finish with 12 points and teammate Roydell Brown added an additional 12 points.
Caleb Daniels led the Knights with 12 points. Devante Jones scored 12 and registered 5 steals.