High school basketball is in full force, HHS Lady Tigers await annual shootout
|Photo by Thelezia Folse|
HHS LADY TIGERS. The Hahnville High School’s girls basketball team had a record season last year, making it to the Ladies Top 28. The girls hope to win state this year.
The Destrehan High School boys basketball team is looking for a repeat season from last year.
After all the Wildcats came out second in district and made it to the quarterfinals during the 2007-08 season where they lost to the eventual state champions, Lafayette High School, by a last-second shot.
With a 24-game schedule ahead of them, coach Kurt Hargis says that the team’s focus is the same as every year.
“Our goal is to win district and make it to the Cajun Dome where the semifinals and finals are held,” he said.
Hargis notes that the Wildcats are looking at three key players to help win games and keep the team solid.
“Roosevelt Johnson returns for his senior year, coming off a first team All-State selection last year,” he continued. “And he can basically do it all - dribble, pass, shoot - and he’s 6’ 5”.”
Basketball cousins Kevin and Wynrick Smothers also return for the 2008-09 season.
“Kevin is the leader of the team and Wynrick is our best shooter,” said Hargis.
DHS graduated eight seniors from last year’s team, including all of their guards, therefore the coaches are looking for one of the younger players to fill those shoes and have each player continue to develop their roles.
“The players on this team know their roles,” said Hargis. “They understand they each have something to contribute, but don’t let their egos get in the way.”
With 10 district games beginning Jan. 20, Hargis believes that the team’s non-district games are challenging enough to prepare the team for district play.
“We play a very tough district,” he said. “East Ascension made it to the semifinals and Dutchtown lost to them in the playoffs last year. St. Amant has the most returning players, so they will be tough. And Hahnville and East St. John are rival games, so those are always a challenge.”
The Wildcats opened the season with a 103-99 win after traveling to St. Paul on Nov. 18. and will face off against Bonnabel on Dec. 1 on the road at 6 p.m.
Hahnville Boys Basketball
Hahnville High School boys basketball team gained a lot of experience last year with a good number of players on their roster with no varsity experience.
Coach Brian Lumar says that the tigers fought extremely hard in a district that featured some of the top teams in the state.
“Our goals this year are to improve on the simple things such as the importance of playing hard, defending, rebounding and taking good shots,” he said. “I’m a big believer in in playing hard, smart and together.”
Lumar adds that the Tigers are looking forward to being, overall, a much better team and securing a playoff spot. And this coach has his eye on a few particular players to really step up to the challenge.
“My guys have been working extremely hard from day one, focusing on all the little things it takes to be successful,” he said.
Desmond Raymond, who is returning after a year absence, is credited as being a good ball defender who can penetrate a create for other guys on the team.
Lumar says that other key players like improved returning guard Derek Raymond and shooter Jared Kinsey can bring a lot to the team.
“Our greatest talent is the team’s overall unselfishness,” he continued. “But we still need to improve on things like limiting turnovers, playing much smarter execution, rebounding, team defense and most importantly, consistency.”
Lumar points out that the team’s biggest competitor will be competing night in and night out in a very tough district.
The Tigers take on West Jefferson at home on Dec. 2 at 6 p.m.Hahnville Girls Basketball
Last year could easily be marked as one of the most successful seasons that the Hahnville High School girls basketball team has ever seen.
The Lady Tigers won 28 games and reached the Ladies Top 28 for the first time in 20 years.
“The eight seniors that graduated, four of which signed college scholarships, could be considered the best senior class our program has ever had,” said head coach Kevin Robicheaux, who adds that winning the state championship is always his team’s No. 1 priority.
“Some teams like to set goals such as winning 20 games or winning district,” he said. “My teams will always reach for the ultimate team goal of being the best in state.”
Robicheaux says that he doesn’t like to single out anyone on the team as a “star” player, pointing out that in each and every game someone different could lead the team to victory, but does refer to a few watchful Lady Tigers.
“This year one of our key players is returning starter Jalacia Gullage,” he said. “She plays the forward spot, so our strategy will be to get the ball inside to her when possible.”
Another key player for the 2008-09 season is Jasmine Hill.
“As a sophomore last year, she came in off the bench and played guard,” said Robicheaux. Her greatest asset will be leading out younger, more inexperienced players throughout the season.”
Robicheaux predicts that, as a primarily young team, there will be mistakes made along the way.
“I really believe that this team’s biggest challenge will be playing smart t and fundamental basketball,” he continued. “Many of out players don’t really know and understand the game in the way that it should be played. Our goal will be to learn from the mistakes we that make.”
This year’s Lady Tigers are attributed with team dedication, always giving 100 percent on the court.
“Playing as a team will be extremely important this year,” said Robicheaux. “Many of the players might make a mistake on offense, but hopefully they’ll make up for it on defense. It will be exciting to see how everything comes together for district play in January.”
The girls’ season began with a match up against Ellender on Nov. 17, who also reached the Ladies Top 28, and they are scheduled to play in Pontchatoula on Dec. 1 at 5:30 p.m..
Robicheaux says that his team’s hardest games will come against Destrehan, East Ascension, East St.John and Dutchtown.
“All of the these teams have a chance at winning district and making a stong playoff run.
Destrehan Girls Basketball
Destrehan High School’s girls basketball team faces off this week against John Ehret on Friday, Nov. 28 at home at 3 p.m.
And head coach Ulysses Frontha is looking for his team to bounce back and improve from last season.
“Last year, we were beset by two major injuries,” said Frontha. “Out point guard, Tawanna Lee, and our center, LaDaisha Smith were out, so we struggled with leadership. Some of our younger players gained valuable experience, but without our leading scorers and rebounders, it last year was difficult.”
Frontha adds that all players are back on the court and healthy, and points out that the team is looking to rebuild the enthusiasm and excitement of DHS Ladycat basket ball, and make it to the playoffs.
“Our top returning players are are Lee and Smith and Taraina Hamilton - all senior leaders,” he continued. “Each young lady brings a lot of experience and leadership. Other players to watch for are Laci Dent, Paige Rochelle, Tia Walker, Arieon Banks and Kayla Bradley.
Frontha says that one area that needs improving is the team’s communication on the floor and team defense, but notes that their greatest asset is overall team depth with more experience.
“I think our most challenging competitors this year is everyone in our district,” he said. “Last year we finished next to last and to get better we need to step up our game against all district teams.”
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