Tigers open up Gold Dome Classic with win
Donaldsonville opened up the Gold Dome Classic tournament at St. Amant on Wednesday night with a wild, high-tempo first half against East St. John.
The Tigers scored 41 in those first 16 minutes. But they gave up 40.
In the second half, they got back down to the style of play head coach Lionel Gilbert wanted to see. They slowed down the pace, played better defense and kept feeding the ball down low to center Everette Wilson.
East St. John had no answer for the big man as he helped lead the Tigers to a 78-60 win.
“We had more defensive energy. We were able to put together a string of stops and get out in transition," Gilbert said. "That really turned the game for us. Everette got going. I thought we did a better job of feeding the post and not settling for jump shots.”
Donaldsonville looked primed to pull away from East St. John early, but the Wildcats were shooting well from behind the arc. They hit three 3-pointers to trim the deficit to 21-19 at the end of one.
The Tigers were able to find some separation early in the second quarter.
A transition layup by Corey Brooks stretched the lead to seven, and a put-back down low by Wilson gave Donaldsonville the biggest lead of the game at 11.
However, East St. John kept coming. They responded with a quick 9-0 run and eventually cut the Tiger advantage to 41-40 at the half.
They continued the momentum to begin the third quarter, scoring two straight buckets to take a three-point lead.
But Donaldsonville responded. Brooks and Terrel Brown each hit 3-pointers that gave them a 59-53 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
The Tigers then began the final period with a 6-0 run. Four of those points came from Wilson. This gave Donaldsonville the game's biggest lead at 12.
Later, Brooks provided another 3-pointer that swelled the advantage to 15. From there, the Tigers rolled to a 78-60 victory.
After giving up 40 points in the first half, Donaldsonville limited East St. John to just 20 in the final 16 minutes.
“They’re a fast team, and they were getting out and running," Gilbert said. "They shot the three-ball well, and they were able to get out in transition. I thought they were making the game up and down. We played into their style. They dictated the tempo and set the tone in that first half.
"I thought our guys did a better job in the second half of buying into our principal of not wanting to give up 48 points a game—not 40 in a half. I challenged them at halftime."
Three different players scored in double-figures for the Tigers.
Wilson led the way with a game-high 22. Brown and Brooks each had 13.
Tyriell North chipped in with eight.
The win was much-needed for the Tigers after dropping back-to-back games. They lost to Jehovah-Jireh at a tournament in White Castle last week and then dropped a seven-point contest to White Castle at home on Tuesday night.
The win over East St. John improved their overall record to 3-2.