Destrehan took the floor without two-time Gatorade Player of the Year Cara Ursin Tuesday night against Hahnville, but the unbeaten Wildcats proved how deep and talented they are in their rivalry clash with the Tigers, taking a 68-38 victory to move to 16-0 on the season. Jerlicia Morris scored 21 to lead Destrehan. Korriana Reynaud scored 18. Kiki Kenner scored 11 and Brandi Mason added nine.
Destrehan coach Angi Butler said Morris has made big strides in her senior season.
“She’s come a long way this year,” Butler said. “She’s coming into games with that sense of urgency to finally finish this year. She’s been one of our leaders all season.”
Destrehan led 16-5 after the first quarter and extended the lead from there. The Wildcats led 32-14 at the half and 49-29 after three quarters.
Danae Lorio scored 10 for Hahnville (5-11).Makaila Carter added eight.
Butler said Ursin could have played if pressed to, but with the Wildcats pulling ahead early it allowed the team to rest her for the upcoming Allstate Sugar Bowl Classic tournament at the Alario Center this weekend.
“She’s had a severe sinus infection,” Butler said. “The doctor said she could play, but we felt we should give her the night off and give her a chance to get her strength back.”
Butler said the team very much would like to capture the Sugar Bowl victory after several near misses. Destrehan finished third at the heralded tournament last season, and took second place in each of the previous two seasons.
“We would really like to win that one,” Butler said. “It would be a notch in our belt, a boost to our confidence and a sign we’re ready to take that next step.”
Destrehan will open play at the Alario Center against Richwood Thursday. A victory in that game would set up a potential rematch with Natchitoches Central. Destrehan bested NCHS earlier this season decisively, but fell to them in the Class 5A quarterfinals last season.
Other notable teams in the bracket include Salmen, Ursuline, Warren Easton, John Curtis and Karr.
DESPITE LOSS, TIGERS FINDING IDENTITY: First-year Hahnville coach Arrianna Martin is seeing her team start to put things together after a slow start.
The Tigers have found a calling card in the form of their defense, which factored large in recent wins over De La Salle, 48-40, Haynes, 43-24, and H.L. Bourgeois, 39-36.
While Martin notes she ultimately would like to see her team’s defense evolve into a man-to-man heavy attack, she said fundamentally, there is still much to learn in the fundamentals department. But the team’s zone defense has been quite effective at keeping opposing teams out of the lane, while in the right matchups — as was the case against De La Salle — the Tigers’ man-to-man pressure can be fully unleashed for a full game.
“I love man-to-man defense, and we have some very quick girls that can make it happen,” Martin said. “That said, everyone is still kind of in that mode of trying to steal the ball immediately. We’re trying to teach them that you have to set the ball-handler up for it first. You can’t just walk up to them and take it.
“Our zone defense, though, has been pretty good. We’re aggressive and keeping teams out of the paint.”
Victoria Corley has been a key part of that success. The senior center has been a consistent force in the rebounding department while maintaining a presence in the middle to challenge opposing players attacking the goal.
“She’s executed anything and everything we’ve asked,” Martin said. “She’s all over the boards.”
The Tigers’ offense, however, is where Martin said things must improve going forward. While juniors Yasah Gale and Makaila Carter give the team offensive punch, the Tigers are left a bit vulnerable if either has an off night, said Martin.
“We can’t afford to rely on one or two players,” Martin said. “We try to get everyone involved through our offensive structure.
“The big thing for us is to build that confidence in all of our players at the offensive end. Attack the basket and don’t be afraid of contact, and if something is working for you then go to it.”
Hahnville took a 48-40 win at the Haynes tournament over De La Salle. (stats coming on games). Gale led the way with 12 while Danae Lorio and Carter each scored 10.
The Tigers fell 42-38 to Ben Franklin in a back and forth contest in another Haynes tournament matchup. Carter scored 11, Paceley Williams 8 and Gale 7.
Wrapping up tourney play against host Haynes, Hahnville captured a decisive 43-24 victory. Williams scored 15, while Carter and Corley each added six.