Gators start slow, then steamroll

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The LaGrange Gators took awhile to get going, but then poured it on in a 55-32 nondistrict win over host St. Louis on Tuesday.

The Gators were held scoreless through the first 5 minutes, falling behind 8-0, but then went on a 22-4 blitz over the remainder of the half.

“These girls have played with and against each other since middle school,” LaGrange head coach La’Keem Holmes said. “They were so excited about the game that we were bobbling passes early on. Once our nerves settled we started playing our type of game.”

Aasia Sam led the early attack, scoring 15 of her game-high 23 points in the first half.

“The last few games we have been telling her to be aggressive, to look to score,” Holmes said. “That is her role on the team. “We have kids who play defense, kids who rebound, kids who block shots. Her role is to go score. We put her in good situations and she took advantage of them. She was very aggressive.”

LaGrange (7-2) scored 24 straight points over the second and third quarters. St. Louis was held to four points in the second quarter and two in the third.

Holmes said his bench players helped spark the big run over the second and third quarters by leading the defensive charge and keeping the team’s energy level high.

“It is all about everybody being a star in their role,” he said. “Maddison Johnson isn’t going make the paper because of stats. She is going to back-tip, she is going to get on the ground. Same with Shameia Jerro. They are effort players. They sacrifice shot opportunities to get the others better opportunities. When Deja Tanks is making shots she is getting double-doubles. She is a true post player, something we have not had the past couple years.”

Alona Gray scored 14 points, all in the second half, for LaGrange. Jeriah Warren had three blocks and three steals.

Alexandria Goodly led St. Louis (9-5) with 10 points.

The Gators have won six straight and finish the week with games against Florien, a Class B semifinalist last year; Warren Easton, the defending Class 4A state champion and John Curtis, the defending Division I champion.

“I guess we will learn what we are made of,” Holmes said. “We started slow (losing two of the first three games). We may have believed our hype a little bit at the start. Now we are playing more aggressively, especially on defense. We are a defensive team.”

LaGrange 55, St. Louis 32

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