The Destrehan Ladycats basketball team has enjoyed the decorated run of any basketball team in St. Charles Parish history, capping an undefeated season with a victory in last season’s Class 5A state championship game. That team was led by Baylor signee and Miss Basketball-Louisiana Cara Ursin and a deep, talented group of upperclassmen. But with seven seniors gone, and head coach Angi Butler stepping down from her position following the season, the program now regroups under first-year coach and DHS alumnus Meagan Stock.
Stock was an assistant under Butler and says she’s excited to have the opportunity to lead the girls basketball program at her alma mater, where she once played under former head coach Ulysses Frontha.
“It was an ongoing joke with Coach Frontha that I was gonna come take his spot one day,” Stock said. “It’s awesome. It’s really a dream come true, one I never thought would happen.”
Stock led the team during a brief five-game summer slate in which the Wildcats went 3-2 against a slate of opponents including Chapelle, Northshore, Dominican, McDonogh No. 35 and Haynes, who hosted the league.
Nearly the entire regular rotation of last year’s team has graduated — only Korianna Reynaud, a freshman last season, is a returning player that took the court in the semifinals or finals of last year’s state championship tournament.
That means spots are up for grabs — and for competition.
“The spots are open, and I don’t care if you’re an incoming freshman or a senior, each spot is going to the best player,” Stock said. ”We have a good freshman class coming in, (some of them) with starter-level ability. So it’s about who wants it and who’s willing to put in the work and show me they want it.”
One player who appears to have carved out a key role for the coming season is Kayla Davis, a 5’7 forward. Her versatility is something Stock believes will make her a valuable asset to her team, as Davis has the height to play inside but the quickness and skill to play on the perimeter.
“She’s stepping up as a leader,” Stock said. “She’s kind of been the glue sticking everyone together. She’s a post player who can play guard if we need her to, and she’s willing to do whatever we need her to do to help our team.”
Another senior asserting herself has been Daja Sanchez, an accurate outside shooter whose confidence has grown over the summer, Stock said.
“I think she knows her role has grown and that she needs to have that confidence in herself to lead,” Stock said. “I believe she’ll continue to step up.”
Among younger players who have impressed Stock is Darielle Richard, who will be a sophomore next season. Stock said Richard has been eager to put in the work to make a difference and said she’s already shown a strong passion for the game.
“She wants to be there for everything. That’s promising,” Stock said. “She’s a sophomore having that mindset. If she keeps that up by the time she’s a senior, she can go far. Those are leadership qualities.”
Stock said she knows there will be growing pains. Holding expectations to match the dominant run of the Wildcats of the past few years wouldn’t be realistic. That said, this team has already shown Stock its willingness to battle—erasing a 20-point deficit in its loss to Chapelle at Haynes to nearly rally for a win — and she believes in the potential of her new squad.