After his squad struggled offensively for most of last month, Destrehan head basketball coach Todd Bourg didnít feel like his team was close to being ready for district play.
But the Wildcats turned everything around Tuesday night to claim a 52-39 victory over John Ehret in their first district game of the season.
Led by the their only two returning starters, Gary Johnson and Keigan Joseph, the Wildcats took a 24-19 lead into the half and held John Ehret to only four points in the third to extend that margin to 33-23.
Despite the impressive shooting performance of John Ehretís Anthony McGee, who nailed four 3-pointers and finished with 19 points, the Wildcats held on down the stretch to clinch the big win.
Johnson and Joseph both came up big for Destrehan in the game, with each scoring 17 points. Johnson was 7-of-9 from the field and led the Wildcats with five rebounds.
"Gary is our leader out there and when he gets going we usually play well," Bourg said.
Before district play the Wildcats had struggled to hold on to late leads, which is the main reason the team is 7-12 at this point in the season.
Those losses, including close ones against Christian Life, Amite, Parkview Baptist, Northshore and Higgins can be chalked up to inexperience. Destrehan lost eight players from last year and only returned two starters – Johnson and Joseph – this season.
"Itís frustrating when you are leading and guys donít know how to hold on to it because they donít have the experience," Bourg said. "They make bad decisions and donít make free throws. We could easily be 12-4 if we were able to hold on in those games."
While Bourg admits his squad has struggled, those close losses mean the team is capable of turning things around in district play.
"District is going to be wide open," Bourg said. "Everybody lost a lot from last year and I donít see any team that is going to be overpowering."
The Wildcats will travel to East St. John on Friday, with the game set to begin at 6 p.m. They will face Bonnabel at Bonnabel on Tuesday, Jan. 15. That game is also scheduled to begin at 6 p.m.
Meanwhile, Hahnville (9-12) suffered a 65-54 loss to Bonnabel on Tuesday in their first district game of the season. The Tigers will host Higgins on Friday at 7 p.m.