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E.D. White girls clinch share of district title


ST. JAMES — There was a lot riding for the E.D. White Catholic Lady Cardinals Friday's District 7-3A game against St. James, and they played like it.

With the district championship and an automatic berth to the Class 3A state playoff on the line, the Lady Cardinals played tight in the first quarter and had trouble getting shots to fall.

Luckily for E.D. White, Jordan Gros came ready to play, and she carried the Lady Cardinals in the first half while her teammates were shaking off the nerves.

Gros finished with a game-high 29 points, and once her teammates began to help her in scoring, E.D. White went on for a 49-41 win.

The Lady Cardinals (21-5 overall, 8-0 in district) clinched at least a share of the district title, and E.D. White can win the outright title with a victory over Port Allen or St. Charles Catholic next week. By sweeping the Lady Wildcats (9-18, 6-2 in district), E.D. White secured the automatic berth to the state playoffs as the district's top-seeded team.

Gros said the pressure of playing for the district title had the team on edge at the start of the game.

"We came out and everyone was nervous because winning this game clinches district for us. I think that is why we were a little nervous," Gros said. "I wanted it bad, and I was playing my heart out and they were too. The shots just weren't falling, but once they did, we started to play as a team. Then we started to pull away in the second half."

Gros' desire to help the Lady Cardinals win the district title was evident in the first quarter as she scored all 10 points for E.D. White as St. James held a 13-10 lead.

Nytiana Joseph led St. James in scoring with 23 points, and it was her jumper with 3:45 left in the second quarter that gave the Lady Wildcats a 17-12 lead.

With 1:52 left in the second quarter, another Lady Cardinal finally broke into the scoring column when Emily Weimer made a free throw for a 20-15 score. Once Weimer made her shot, Genna Larose scored on a layup and Emily Sauce converted a steal into a bucket for a 20-19 score with 56 seconds on the clock.

The teams each made a free throw in the final 48 seconds keeping St. James in front 21-20 at halftime.

E.D. White coach Darin Fontz said it took time for his team to settle down, but once the nerves were gone, the Lady Cardinals started to make plays.

"We were a little nervous. St. James has a history and there is still a mystic coming here to play. We settled down late in the first quarter and it wasn't pretty, but our kids fought hard to get the win. When both teams got tired in the second half, it was our will to win that pulled us through," Fontz said. "We wouldn't be where we are without Jordan. She has been unstoppable in district. All year she has given us a presences on the inside and her ability to hit free throws. We needed that because we struggled at the line."

Gros's bucket with 6:33 showing in the third quarter put E.D. White in front 22-21, and the Lady Cardinals never trailed again.

St. James tied the game at 27 after Joseph scored with 2:50 on the clock, but E.D. White finished the quarter with a 6-2 run to take a 33-29 lead.

Joseph kept the Lady Wildcats close as her jumper with 6:46 cut E.D. White's lead to 35-33.

A couple of free throws and a bucket by Gros pushed E.D. White's lead to 39-33, but Kelly Celestin drained a 3-pointer with 3:42 left to make it a 39-36 score.

From that point on, it was all E.D. White as the Lady Cardinals went on a 10-3 run to build a double-digit lead.

Larose made a layup with 19 seconds remaining to put the Lady Cardinals up 49-39. Celestin ended the game with a jumper to make it a 49-41 final.

"The last thing we wanted to do was having to play for district during Mardi Gras week, so it is good to get that out of the way," Fontz said. "We still have two more games to go. Port Allen is an athletic team, and they can surprise you, so we have to be ready for Tuesday."

St. James coach Greg Wood was not available for comment after the game.

ST.JAMES 61, E.D. WHITE CATHOLIC 54 (BOYS)

At St. James, the Wildcats erased a one-point halftime deficit by outscoring E.D. White 21-8 in the third and eventually got the win in Friday's District 7-3A game.

The Cardinals (6-17, 1-7 in district) led 25-24 at halftime, but St. James started the third quarter on a 18-4 run for a 42-29 lead with 2:32 on the clock.

The Wildcats went on to take a 45-33 lead at the end of the third quarter.

E.D. White wouldn't go away and cut the Wildcats' lead to 55-52 after Connor Chiasson made a 3-pointer with 1:55 left in the game.

However, Jared Wiggins protected lead by making four free throws and a layup in the final seconds for the seven-point win.

Chiasson and Geoffrey Hebert led E.D. White with 15 points each, while Stephen LeBouef had 10 points.

Wiggins led St. James (19-5. 6-2 in district) with 19 points, while Andre Mitchell finished with 14 and Owen Mumphrey Jr. scored 10.