Second-quarter Ram flurry turns away Bulldogs

Kyle Riviere
kriviere@weeklycitizen.com
Alex Gros (No. 14) and Jamil Truxillo (No. 4) play defense in Ascension Catholic's loss to West. St. John. Photo by Kyle Riviere.

After earning their first district victory of the season the night earlier against St. John, Ascension Catholic was looking to keep the momentum going against West St. John at home on Wednesday night, but the turnover bug reared its ugly head.

Costly self-inflicted mistakes had plagued the Bulldogs all season, and they spelled doom for them again as they played the Rams of Class 2A.

Despite the Bulldogs jumping out to a 9-2 lead, West St. John took advantage of Ascension Catholic’s miscues and stunned them with a 23-3 run. They never recovered.

"That's the way it's been throughout the season. We've lacked toughness when there's pressure. We haven't handled the ball well, and until we fix that, we're going to continue to be a bad basketball team,” Bulldog head coach Kylon Green said.

Though, his team was very good right out of the gates.

Ascension Catholic was able to race out to a 9-2 lead after 3-pointers by both Jamil Truxillo and Bubba Gautreau.

However, that spurt of hot shooting quickly subsided.

The Bulldogs went ice cold from the field and began turning the ball over in bunches. This allowed West St. John to go on a 14-0 tear that gave them a 16-9 lead.

Finally, Gautreau hit another trey at the end of the quarter to temporarily stop the bleeding.

"Once again, it was turnovers. After the 9-2 lead, we didn't score again until the last shot of the first quarter, and we had turnover after turnover between that,” Green said.

Ascension Catholic was only down 4 to start the second quarter, but after a string of missed layups, West St. John scorched the Bulldog defense with easy transition buckets.

This translated into a 9-0 run by the Rams to start the quarter. That flurry put them up 25-12. Overall, it was a 23-3 run after starting the game down 9-2.

The lead only got bigger as West St. John nailed a 3-pointer at the end of the half. It gave them a 39-19 halftime lead, thanks to a 37-10 rally after being down 7.

Things didn’t get any better in the second half for Ascension Catholic.

They only made two field goals in the entire third quarter. Their 5-point total gave the Rams a dominating 53-24 lead heading into the fourth.

Though the first three quarters were a disaster and they trailed by 29, the Bulldogs never gave up.

They fought hard in the final period—outscoring the Rams, 19-5, in the quarter to make the final score more respectable at 58-43.

"Those were our younger guys. They're a feisty bunch. No matter what the score is, they're gonna continue to fight,” Green said.

The Bulldogs were led by Gautreau and Jacoby Stewart. Both players finished with 9 points. Truxillo chipped in with 6.

Ascension Catholic’s matchup with a team from Class 2A was not an isolated incident. Like last season, the Bulldogs have played a horde of upper-classification squads from week to week.

Of their 18 losses, 15 have come to bigger schools.

They are 3-3 against teams at the 1A level or smaller.

Ascension Catholic will get back to district play this week. On Friday night, they go on the road to face parish foe Ascension Christian, seeking their second league victory of the season.