The biggest question for Destrehan basketball star Cara Ursin these days may be whether she can keep up with all of the accolades that she continues to pile up.Ursin earned the prestigious honor of Louisiana’s Miss Basketball, an honor voted on by the Louisiana Sports Writers’ Association. Ursin also led the Class 5A girls All-State team as she was named 5A’s Outstanding Player for the 2015-16 season.
Hahnville’s Mason Aucoin also earned recognition, as he was named honorable mention for the Class 5A boys All-State squad.
Ursin, a 5’8 junior, is the first basketball player to earn Gatorade Player of the Year honors twice prior to her senior season—she will have the opportunity to become the first ever three-time recipient next year. She averaged 25 points, 12.9 rebounds, 7.3 assists. 6.0 assists and 5.5 blocked shots a game this season while leading Destrehan to the Class 5A quarterfinals. Ursin had a quadruple-double against St. Katharine Drexel on Dec. 1 (24 points, 10 rebounds, 12 assists and 12 steals). She also had four triple-doubles and 21 double-doubles this season.
“When coach told me, I was so happy,” Ursin said. “It was almost like I didn’t know how to react. You can never be too thankful. Honestly, it took me off guard.”
Ursin noted surprise at her selection, in part, because Destrehan’s season ended in the 5A quarterfinals, as opposed to its run to the state final and semifinal in each of the past two years. That she referenced that loss as an “early end” to the Wildcats’ season lends some context to the success of Ursin and the DHS program over the past three seasons.
“It’s something that doesn’t happen often,” Ursin said. “When you’re named alongside (past winners) like Seimone Augustus … it’s only now starting to sink in. In a way, I’m starting to figure out that maybe I do have something special.”
She will also have the chance to become a two-time Miss Basketball in her senior season. She’s the first player from a St. Charles Parish school to earn the Mr. or Miss Basketball honor and just the third player from a River Parishes school (Reserve Christian’s Tweety Carter and Riverside’s Ricardo Gathers each captured Mr. Basketball).
It marks the third time in her three years at Destrehan that Ursin has been named All-State, while 2016 represents her first Outstanding Player honor.
“I don’t know that anyone else has done that (at Destrehan),” Destrehan coach Angi Butler said. “It’s a rare thing to put three notches in your belt like that when it comes to the All-State team. Even so, to see her in the hallway every day, you’d never know it. She’s still so humble, always.”
Joining her on the All-State first team are Mount Carmel’s Kristen Nuss (Sr., 20 points per game), Mandeville’s Elise Reilly (Sr., 22.6 ppg), Pineville’s Danyale Bayonne (Sr., 19.2 ppg) and Evangel’s Tiara Young (Fr., 23 ppg).
For DHS, it marks a major milestone on more than one level: in the past week, Ursin was named Miss Basketball while classmate Cole Grieshop was named Louisiana Student of the Year.
“I guess what I’m really proud of is the fact that both of these two students are representative of so many more students walking the hallways of Destrehan High School. Cole and Cara are natural leaders both academically – and in co-curricular and extra-curricular activities,” said Destrehan principal Stephen Weber. “Both are integrally involved in community assistance/volunteer activities – and both are student-athletes that have impeccable academic qualifications. I have made this comment many times to many people regarding both Cole and Cara — they are even better people than what is reflected in their academic and/or athletic talents.
“And I’m proud to say there are many other Cole’s and Cara’s walking the halls of Destrehan High School. These students are a testament to a hopeful future. That’s what’s important, and that’s what makes Destrehan High so special.”