Destrehan coach Todd Bourg wistfully recalled his team’s tight loss to H.L. Bourgeois late in the regular season, a 3-point decision at home that likely kept his Wildcats from returning to the postseason.
“We led most of the way, we just couldn’t hold on,” Bourg said.
It was a gritty effort by the Wildcats, who lost by 31 points in the first matchup between the teams in District 7-5A play. This time, their season on the line, Destrehan battled on its home court, but a Bourgeois team that would earn the No. 6 seed in the Class 5A playoffs pushed forward to earn the win.
“That would have put us in, given how many wins they had and where they were ranked,” Bourg said.
The Wildcats finished their season with an overall record of 15-16, starting the year strong before a difficult district schedule slowed them down. Four teams in the district earned top 15 seeds in the postseason. Destrehan defeated one of those teams, archrival Hahnville, to kick off district play and won two of their first three district games before a three game losing streak thereafter put the Wildcats behind the eight ball.
“It was a battle every night,” Bourg said.
Next season, a promising nucleus returns. Sophomore 6’5 forward Zalvin Michael and his brother, junior guard Jalvin Michael will return, as will junior guard J.R. Blood, junior big man Mako Marin and freshman point guard Tyler Mortin.
“(Martin) will hopefully be running the show,” Bourg said. “Zalvin probably would have averaged 16 to 18 points a game this year if not for foul trouble.”
Marin, who transferred from Hahnville prior to the school year, has a big body at 6’5. He saw his season partially derailed by a high-ankle sprain just when he was rounding into form, Bourg said, and a full healthy campaign next year could see him make an impact.
One area Bourg said he’s determined to address is his team’s defense. Bourg has historically had strong defensive teams at Destrehan, but recent seasons have seen the opposition score too many, he said, and adjustments must be made.
“My philosophy has always been to protect the basket. Don’t let you get to the basket, and if you do get inside, we’re not putting you on the line,” Bourg said. “Today, you have a lot more 3-point shooters out there. We were holding teams in the high 30s and low 40s for a long time, but that hasn’t been the case the last few seasons. That’s been a big part of our losses and we’ve got to get back to playing solid defense.”