Destrehan entered the 2016-17 season retooling much of its lineup from a year ago, and the Wildcats have had to work through the adjustment period that inevitably ensues from that kind of roster turnover. That said, after banking back to back victories last week against Lutcher and John Ehret, a Destrehan team with a different look from recent years seems to be on the upswing.
This Destrehan team is different than those of recent seasons that were predicated on spreading the ball and putting multiple ballhandlers on the floor. This year’s team is build more around post play, with 6’6 Preston Guidry and 6’5 Freddie Brown providing a big one-two punch inside. Brown and Guidry, Destrehan coach Todd Bourg says, are starting to make a big impact.
“They’re stepping it up,” said Bourg. “This season’s brought on a bit of a philosophy change for us. We’ve been playing three out, two in, getting the ball inside and playing inside-out, through the post. We don’t have a true point guard, so our post play is initiating the offense a lot of the time. We’re a little taller than we’ve been in the past.”
That’s not to say the guards haven’t had their say. Lionel Maxon scored 21 points to lead Destrehan past Lutcher last week, then 11 in the win over Ehret. J.R. Blood is a returning starter from a year ago as well and brings some size to the backcourt.
Bourg said the Destrehan defense has been on point the majority of the time, the Wildcats’ length and physicality making life difficult for opposing squads. But he said his team’s ability to generate offense must improve, and its ability to do so will go a long way in determining how far this team will go this season.
The team’s need for an adjustment period means it could take time for the team’s late game execution to be sharpened. Destrehan has lost five games by either four points or less or in overtime. The plus side of that, Bourg noted, is that the team has been right there in almost all of its games, and with a little progress the Wildcats could get hot in a hurry.
Last Thursday, Destrehan beat Lutcher 60-52. The Wildcats’ Lionel Maxon scored 21 to lead all scorers, while L’Kyron Walker (12), Devin Edwards (11) and Preston Guidry (10) rounded out a quartet of DHS scorers in double figures.
Guidry led the Wildcats in their win 46-35 last week over Ehret, scoring 15 points. Maxon chipped in 11 while Brown added nine.
“We cut down on turnovers and protected the ball,” Bourg said of the difference in those games. “We made shots down the stretch, including our free throws. That’s how you close teams out.”
Tonight’s game has a bit of special meaning for Bourg, as he leads his team into Salmen, a traditional factor coached by Jay Carlin. Bourg calls Carlin his mentor, and said the game will be a good measuring stick for his team.
“We’re going through the process right now,” Bourg said. “Things have been looking a little better. What we need to do is continue to build on that.”