Ladycats dominate summer ball, cast eye toward a title run

The Destrehan Ladycats basketball team lost just three games, officially, on the basketball court last season. That very low number may not climb next season if the team’s summer play gives a glimpse into the future. The 2016 Class 5A quarterfinalist went 9-0 in summer tournaments at Haynes and Northshore respectively, going undefeated behind the strong play of a mix of veteran players and newcomers. Salmen, Dominican and Chapelle were among teams on their slate of opponents.

Louisiana’s reigning Miss Basketball and two-time Louisiana Gatorade Player of the Year Cara Ursin has led the way this summer and will again this fall in what will be her senior season. Along with her from last year’s team have been fellow senior team captains Brandi Mason and Kiki Kenner, with Ciera Samuels rounding out the upperclassmen.

Joining them are a group of talented freshmen, including guards Korriana Reynaud and Darielle Richard, each of whom the team has high hopes for in the coming season.

“We lost two seniors from last year’s team,” said Destrehan coach Angi Butler, noting the graduations of guard Taylor Daigs and forward Nytea Sanchez. “The nice thing, though, is we have a group of incoming freshmen who can contribute and take some of that pressure off.”

Reynaud, Butler said, will provide a particularly big boost due to her versatility. She’s an adept ballhandler which will allow the Wildcats to deploy Ursin, the team’s primary point guard/forward, off the ball more in the coming season.

“(Reynaud) comes from a basketball background, so she’s ahead of the typical freshman in terms of experience,” Butler said. “She’s played AAU and she gives us another person that can push the ball in transition quickly. She’s got good size and she’s consistent in scoring at the basket … she’s going to be a real asset for us. She has a lot of natural talent.”

Dorielle, Butler said, is a tough defender who adds plenty of value in her own right.

“She’s brings what I like to call that ‘aggravation factor’ as a defender,” Butler said. “She’ll fight for the ball. With the way we press, she’s another player who can get those takeaways and improve our defense. And that just helps our offense. She’s a little, itty bitty, but she’s extremely aggressive.”

Both players, she said, “put points on the board.”

The returning seniors, meanwhile, have indicated they’re on something of a mission. Butler said she can see a sense of urgency with this class, which has helped the Wildcats reach a state final, semifinal and quarterfinal over the past three seasons.

How they wish to end their Wildcat careers, Butler said, is hardly a secret.

“There’s no ifs ands or buts about it,” Butler said. “They’re showing it in the way they’re playing and preparing. This group has grown up together, they play well together and they want a championship.”

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