Donaldsonville earns win at Spartan Classic

Kyle Riviere
Photo by Andrew Green.

Donaldsonville put a halt to a three-game skid during their Friday matchup with St. John in the Spartan Classic at East Ascension last Friday.

The Tigers dropped their opening-round game to Destrehan. They were looking for the quick bounce-back, and they got it with a 67-31 victory over the Eagles that showcased their opportunistic defense and transition game.

"The effort was definitely there. I'd just like to see us close out with a rebound. Our goal is to hold teams to one shot and cause as many turnovers as possible," Donaldsonville head coach Lionel Gilbert said. "Our best offense is transition right now with so many guys trying to fill new roles. So, we use our defense to try to create offense and scoring."

After St. John nailed a 3-pointer to start the game, Donaldsonville went on a devastating 17-0 tear.

The run featured a steal and layup by Aaron Julien and 3-pointer from Ronald Whittington.

The Tigers feasted on St. John turnovers during the quarter. They led, 17-7, heading into the second.

Donaldsonville kept a stranglehold of the game as they began the second period with an 8-0 run that was sparked by their size advantage down low. It led to easy buckets in the paint and a 25-7 lead.

The Tigers then started to heat up from behind the arc. Both Jacoby Simon and Whittington drilled 3-pointers to build a huge 39-14 advantage.

Julien then got fouled shooting a trey at the buzzer. He went to the line and made two of the attempts to give Donaldsonville a 43-16 halftime lead. They out-scored St. John, 26-9, in the second quarter.

Both teams got off to a slow start in the third with the Tigers missing many easy layups.

There was a three-minute scoring drought until Julien came through with a steal that turned into a breakaway layup.

The Tigers led, 51-30, heading into the fourth, and even after getting a bit sloppy and allowing the Eagles to hit some open shots, they were still able to cruise to a 67-31 victory.

"Defensively, this is one of the best teams I've had as far as energy, attitude and their willingness to get after it. Our struggles have been mainly at the free-throw line and making open layups offensively," Gilbert said. "I think the lights are still kind of bright for some of these guys. It's the first year for a lot of them. So, once they settle down, we'll get back on the right track."

Three different players scored in double-figures for the Tigers. Whittington led the way with 14, followed by Simon with 11. Everette Wilson had 10, and Julien chipped in with 8.

Coach Gilbert is hoping that the victory can be a springboard for his young squad as they head into their final non-district games. These contests include a home matchup with St. Amant on Dec. 18, and a road test against Assumption on Dec. 22.

"It's great to get back into that win-column and get some confidence--especially with the younger guys," Gilbert said. "It's something to build on, and hopefully, we can catch a little fire and start producing on offense."