Things have been up and down for Destrehan basketball over the past few seasons, but the 2021-22 edition of the Wildcats came in determined to change that – and they’re on a roll to start the season.
Destrehan won seven of its first eight games to kick off head coach Troy Green’s second season with the team, and perhaps most exciting of all for the program is this fact: the reinforcements have only now just arrived, with several strong contributors joining the team’s ranks last week after helping propel the DHS football team to the state semifinals.
It’s a promising start. Turning around the program’s fortunes was the hope when Green was hired after a stellar run at White Castle, where as head coach he guided the Bulldogs to a pair of Class 1A state championships. Relentless pressure fueling strong team defense was the calling card of those teams, and thus far the Wildcats look to be taking the shape of a Green-led team after a year in his program. Almost all of the players from last year’s team have returned.
“We had a pretty good summer,” Green said. “We played basically the whole summer. The kids learned more about me and vice versa, and we found some team chemistry. That’s really important to be able to mesh and be on the same page, and it’s helped us so far.”
Last season, there were obvious hurdles to clear when it came to taking the helm and shaping a new program. Preparation time and opportunities prior to the season were limited, and there were interruptions in respect to COVID protocols.
“You’re coming in without a summer, and there’s a lot you really couldn’t do,” Green said. “It’s kind of a situation where you’re walking on eggshells – what can you do, and what can’t you do? We fought through it and found a little rhythm … we have some continuity now, with everyone we have coming back from last year.”
The Wildcats were 5-1 prior to the football players joining the rotation, and have gone 2-0 since. Recent wins over Warren Easton, Lutcher and John Ehret all came by double figures, with different faces leading the way each night in scoring.
In the team’s 55-38 win over Warren Easton, Jai Thomas had the high mark with 23 points. Devin Fourcha scored nine, Christopher Moore scored eight and Makylon Smothers scored six.
The Wildcats rolled over Lutcher, 75-44. Calvin Bullock made his season debut against the Bulldogs and posted a game-high 22 points. Smothers scored 13, Fourcha 12 and Thomas 8.
Destrehan’s 68-51 win over John Ehret saw Bullock come through with another strong performance, scoring 24. Thomas scored 11, Fourcha nine and Kaden Nickelson six.
Though those are the most recent wins, it was an earlier win over Bonnabel that still sticks with Green.
“We had six guys for that game,” Green said. “They had a full roster. And, man, we just stuck in there. We went down, but didn’t hang our heads late in the game. We fought, and scrapped and clawed and found a way to win.”
One way the team is winning is through stingy defense.
“We pressure the ball. We use athleticism to create turnovers, and we communicate,” Green said.