With three regular season games left, Destrehan’s mantra is simple: no matter who the Wildcats play, the approach must remain constant.
The Wildcats will play just one team — East St. John — with a winning record over their final three games, with Destrehan’s last two foes, Central Lafourche and H.L. Bourgeois, combining for just one victory. All three games are District 7-5A contests, and a win over East St. John would clinch the league’s title for Destrehan.
It’s been a long time since the Wildcats played a district game that was in question in the final stages, for that matter. After beating Thibodaux 63-56 in the district opener, Destrehan (19-2, 8-0) has defeated its next seven 7-5A opponents by at least 30 points in each contest.
For a Destrehan team with aspirations of winning the state championship after finishing as a Class 5A runner-up and semifinalist in the past two seasons, complacency is an issue that coach Angi Butler is determined to attack.
“We need the mindset of, no matter who we’re playing, we have to make the adjustments,” Butler said. “We tend to play down. There are games where we shoot 15 percent, where it’s normally 47-48. Do that against a Mount Carmel or Mandeville and there’s no catching up. Our mentality is to keep our A-game up no matter who the opponent will be on a given night.”
However, one issue the Wildcats cannot address is the relative weakness of their district. Destrehan is the only team in the district ranked in the Class 5A top 19 in terms of power points, while four teams ranked 42nd or lower.
“It’s tough, but oh well, it is what it is,” Butler said. “Here we were sitting at no. 2 overall and we’ve dropped to 6 or 7. We’ve been winning by 50 points. Frustration rises because we’re not getting any better numbers wise. We’ll end up playing a 15-16 seed instead of a 28-29 seed. So we’re going to have a more difficult time going into the playoffs. But, hey, we just deal with it.”
Destrehan won seven straight games entering this week, including a dominant 80-27 win over Hahnville Friday night.
Cara Ursin led Destrehan against Hahnville with 24 points, 15 rebounds and seven assists. Brandi Mason scored 17 points to go with five rebounds. Kiki Kenner scored 16 points.
For Hahnville, Makaila Carter and Reagan Crawford each scored eight.
In the team’s 70-37 win over Thibodaux, Ursin scored 34 points and grabbed 17 rebounds. Mason also had a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
Against H.L. Bourgeois, Kenner led the way with 22 points in a 93-37 victory. Ursin scored 19 and Mason added 16.
Over the final three games, Butler said her team has to focus on keeping its defensive play airtight and being consistent at the foul line.
“When we’ve lost in the playoffs, those things are what crop up,” she said. “We’ve committed to finishing strong this season. That’s what it all comes down to.”
ONLY GETTING BETTER — Last season, Ursin was honored as the Gatorade Girls Basketball Player of the Year in Louisiana.
This season, her play — and statistics — have only gotten better. Ursin is averaging a career 28 points per game at the offensive end and six steals at the defensive end.
“She’s truly blessed,” Butler said. “You obviously see she has some God-given gifts athletically that not many can match. On top of that, she puts in the work and sets a tremendous example. She’s become a great leader for our team and always brings out the best in our other girls.