GONZALES — Troy Dunn scored 21 points and East Ascension jumped on top early to cruise to a 57-36 victory against Ascension Parish rival St. Amant on Friday at the Spartans gym.

The Spartans (7-6) ran off the last 11 points of the first quarter to take the lead for good, 20-10 and forced seven Gator turnovers in the first eight minutes. The visitors played it even in the second quarter, but East Asension scored the first nine points of the second half take a comfortable lead.

"We did a good job of communicating on defense,” East Ascension coach Tyler Turner said. “We had our head on a swivel. They were talking to each other when they cut through, moving with them, pointing it out, putting a body on them. We did a good job of not reaching.

“We stopped No. 4 (Letavian Crockett), who’s a good ballhandler, from penetrating to the basket and got good help-side defense.”

Treyon Delmore added 11 points for the Spartans, who held the Gators to three points in the third quarter.

Trace Forbes had 14 points to lead St. Amant (15-4) and Jackobe Singleton added 11.

“They’re a good basketball team and if you want to compete against a good team and rival you’ve got to play hard and do things better than we did,” St. Amant coach Travis Uzee said. “We got off to a slow start and never really got into a rhythm. We’re resilient. We’ll bounced back and be OK.

Singleton scored a basket with 3:20 left in the first period to give the Gators their last lead. Delmore started the 9-0 run with a pair of free throws, and then Dunn converted a 3-point play and added another basket. Two free throws by Noering Walker and a jump shot by Singleton on a nice pass from Dunn made it 20-10.

The Gators hit only 3 of 8 shots in the first quarter and struggled even more in the third when the Spartans separated the score. St. Amant hit 1 of 10 shots, a 3-pointer by Forbes and had six turnovers while the home team made 8 of 11 from the field.

Dunn’s steal and layup fueled the 9-0 run to start the third quarter, and he hit his second 3-pointer to cap a 10-0 run to close out the third quarter. St. Amant didn’t get closer to the lead than 21 points the rest of the night.

“I feel good where we’re at,” Turner said. “We need to clean up the small things. We have a young team, but we’re playing better as the season goes on. We haven’t hit our peak, but we’re making small strides.”