Spreading the floor: Ascension Catholic edges Eagles in District 8-1A opener

St. John's Willie Williams converts in transition ahead of Ascension Catholic's Cleveland Fefie and Jacory Stewart in the fourth quarter of the Bulldogs' 58-53 District 8-1A opening victory on Tuesday night. 
POST SOUTH PHOTO/Peter Silas Pasqua

PLAQUEMINE - St. John the Evangelist High School stayed within striking distance throughout but ultimately fell 58-53 to archrival Ascension Catholic in the District 8-1A opener on Tuesday night at SJHS' gym.

The Eagles (10-10, 0-1), under coach Antonio Broadway, also fell to Runnels 49-47 Tuesday and Madison 85-53 Friday. St. John travels to White Castle Friday and hosts West St. John Tuesday.

"I have faith in my guys and knew we had a chance," Broadway said. "We stayed consistent as far as spreading the floor but conditioning is really killing us late in games. I think we will be better next time around.

"We committed too many fouls at the beginning that put them in the bonus in the first quarter and we have to make our free throws."

Willie Williams led St. John with a game-high 20 points including four 3-pointers. Princeton Young added 19, Bailey Whittington four, Hayden Hemenway and Gavin Primeaux each three and Gavin Landry and Benjamin Poirrier two. The Eagles were 18-of-30 from the free throw line.

Delmond Landry led Ascension Catholic (9-10, 1-0) with 18 points. Gilbert Allen added 16, Kaleb Winchester and Tandym Wells each eight, Cleveland Fefie seven and Jacoby Stewart one.

Young's 3-pointer from the right corner opened the contest and his reverse baseline drive put the Eagles ahead 14-12 going into the second quarter. Hemenway's transition basket, Williams' trey near the top of the key and Allen's runner across the lane each gave their team the lead before Whittington's pump fake knotted it up.

Williams banked a three ball to give St. John the lead in the second quarter but Wells answered and Landry's turnaround put Ascension Catholic ahead 21-19. Poirrier's putback cut the deficit to one before Landry converted inside to give the Bulldogs a 28-25 halftime lead.

Allen's up and under opened the second half but St. John used a 7-0 run that saw Young sandwich two jumpers around Williams' pull up 3-pointer from the right wing to give the Eagles their final lead 32-30.

Ascension Catholic led 42-38 going into the fourth quarter after Allen converted 5-of-6 straight free throws at the 2:19 mark when Hemenway fouled out.

The Bulldogs pushed the lead to 49-40 on an inside basket from Landry despite Winchester fouling out with 5:48 remaining. But St. John still was able to cut the deficit to four following Williams' conversion off Young's block and floater in the lane.

Williams' 3-pointer from the right wing with 10.9 seconds remaining had the Eagles within one possession after Young fouled out with 3:23 remaining on a charge away from the basket. Fefie's free throws reflected the final tally.