Summer play encourages coach as ‘Cats aim to bounce back

Todd Bourg didn’t quite know what to expect when the coach took his Destrehan basketball team to play some live summer ball, given how many new faces would be in his rotation. The team went 5-5 over two tournaments at Chalmette and Country Day, respectively.  Brother Martin, Sophie B. Wright and Slidell were among other teams competing at those slates.

“We did better than I thought we would,” Bourg said. “We were a bit shorthanded, but the thing that really pleased me was different guys stepped it up in different games.”

That could be the ultimate key for Destrehan this season after the departure of leading scorer David Green, who transferred to Bonnabel. Green was a versatile inside/outside threat, and his loss will be felt; it also, however, opens up opportunities for others to take larger roles, something Bourg senses spurred his players on this summer.

“I told them, flat out, I need kids who will step up and score,” Bourg said. “No doubt, I think guys see a chance to break through.”

Lionel Maxon was one player who left an imprint. Though he didn’t play in the first tournament, the Country Day tourney saw the player nicknamed “Lucky” stand out.

Others who made an impression, Bourg said, were 6’6 junior Preston Guidry and junior Freddie Brown

“Those guys blocked a lot of shots and grabbed a bunch of rebounds,” Bourg said.

Destrehan lost a number of experienced players besides Green to graduation, and Bourg said his young team will have to grow. Destrehan boasts just one senior player. The good news there, however, is that growth alludes to experience and savvy on the court. In terms of literal size, the Wildcats need little growing up; they should be in fine shape and could have an advantage in that area against many teams.

“We’ll be a little long and tall,” Bourg said. “We go 6’6, 6’4, 6’4 … we still have work to do in terms of footwork (and) ball handling. We’re working on a lot of fundamental stuff and everyone’s getting a little better.”

Bourg said the team will take a few weeks off and then hit the ground running in preparation for the upcoming season. Destrehan went 11-20 last season and casts an eye on improving on that mark. The summer, he said, provided a valuable evaluation tool.

“We look at everything and what works, we keep and what doesn’t, we throw it out,” Bourg said. “It’ll be a different team this year but I like what I’m seeing from our guys.”

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