Girls squads run sophisticated offenses, trapping defenses

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 20, 2002


St. James High School

When a team struggles during the season, it is usually a sign of inexperience.

That is exactly what St. James High School girls head basketball coach Cary Culler experienced last season. The Lady Wildcats finished the 2001-02 campaign with a dismal 1-17 record and part of the reason was because of youth.

SJHS had four freshmen starters during the season. This season, the Lady Wildcats will experience another youth movement. St. James will likely have one freshman and four sophomores in the starting line-up.

As far as the district goes, Donaldsonville looks to be head and shoulders above the rest.

“I think the rest of us will be competitively even,” Culler said.

East St. John High School

The East St. John High School Lady Cats are hoping to build upon what was a very successful season last year. Head coach Troy Giordano’s squad is coming off an impressive 31-4 season.

With starters Erin Keller, Jada Mason, Nikita Robertson and Kojavona Hamilton returning, ESJ looks to be one of the teams to beat in a competitive district race. In addition to ESJ, Destrehan, Hahnville and H.L. Bourgeois will be the teams to beat, Giordano said.

The coach is excited about one pre-district tournament in particular.

“We are going to travel to play in a tournament in Nashville (Dec. 26-29) and play some of the top teams in the country. That will be a good measuring stick for us,” Giordano said.

Girodano said he is excited about the season’s outlook.

“We’ll definitely have a playoff team that will have 20 or more wins,” he said.

Hahnville High School

Coming off a 21-12 record last season and a fourth place finish in District 6-5A, there is a great deal of optimism heading into this season for Hahnville High School head coach Earl Oestricher and his players.

“We have got four out of five starters back and nine out of 10 back from last season’s roster,” said Oestricher.

The fifth-year head coach said his only concern going into this season is how well his team will perform in a tough district.

“I think by us posting a 20-win season and finishing in fourth shows how difficult and how respected the district is,” Oestricher said.

A key part of the team’s potential success will fall upon the shoulders of Cashmir White. She will need to have a solid inside game if the Lady Tigers are going to compete in a tough district.

Destrehan High School

The Destrehan High School Lady Cats have all five returning starters plus their top reserve from last year’s squad when they take the court this season.

“You can’t help but be excited when you are looking at that,” said head coach Ulysses Frontha.

Two of the players DHS will rely upon this season are Amber Eugene and Brittany Clark. Both Eugene and Clark were freshmen last season.

“I like to refer to them as my super-sophomores. They made some freshman mistakes last season. I believe this season they’ll take the pressure off of some players,” the coach said.

The Lady Cats will play in the Shake’N Bake Tournament at the end of the year at the Pontchartrain Center.

“The tournament is one I have been wanting to get into for a while. They have got some good teams from north Louisiana, as well as an out of state school. It’s going to be competitive,” Frontha said.

With Hahnville, ESJ, and H.L. Bourgeois on the schedule, it won’t be easy to earn a win in district play.

“I think if we can at least beat those teams at home we’ll be OK. It might end up being a four-way tie for first place,” he said.

St. Charles Catholic High School

The St. Charles Catholic High School Lady Comets featured a young team during the 2001-02 season. That was probably the main reason for the team’s 10-19 record last year.

This year’s team has all five returning starters back and head coach Erin Remondet is looking forward to seeing what kind of chemistry the team possesses.

“I expect a lot out of them. They have experience because they have been around for at least two years,” she said.

Coming together quickly should not be a problem for SCC as several of the girls played volleyball together. A tough pre-district schedule includes games against Newman, Thibodaux, and St. Martin’s Episcopal.

“We have a competitive non-district schedule that will provide challenges every single game,” Remondet said.

Riverside Academy

Players and coaches are excited about this season for the Riverside Academy Lady Rebels.

“I see us competing for the district championship this season,” first-year head coach Jenny Zeringue said.

Experience will be a key this season for RA. The Lady Rebels will have four seniors and one sophomore in their starting lineup – seniors Crystal Rome, Mindy Richard, Karen Cortez, Jamie Johnson, and sophomore Christy Englade.

“Crystal will be a scoring leader. She’ll be the quarterback on the court and a playmaker,” Zeringue said. “Mindy and Karen will create a solid defensive presence for us. They will add spark to our lineup.”

Pre-district games include Maurepas, Parkview Baptist and Ridgewood.

“Our pre-district schedule is to fine tune the squad. We will try a lot of different things and interchange players to find out what works the best. Our (pre-district) schedule is tough, but gives us the opportunity to improve in a short amount of time,” Zeringue said.

Lutcher High School

A tough pre-district schedule in the 2001-02 season resulted in Lutcher High School having a mediocre (14-16 overall, 6-4 district) season (third in District 10-3A).

“Six of the eight players on the team were seniors which allowed the team to bounce back from a rough start,” head coach Patrick Ricks said.

Brandi Derbigny is the only player returning to the Lady Bulldogs with any varsity experience. She will likely lead LHS in several offensive categories.

The senior averaged nine points and four rebounds last season.

“I expect Brandi to be the team leader in every imaginable way,” Ricks said.

Early season games against East Ascension, Assumption, White Castle, and Episcopal should help Lutcher prepare for their district schedule.

Most coaches say there are no key games on their schedule. In fact, most of them say they are all key games. However, Ricks does not fit into that category.

“I think our game against Riverside will be important. It should give players a chance to see how they match-up against players from this area,” Ricks said. “In addition, our games against St. Charles Catholic and St. James will be pivotal. Our goal is to finish in the top three in the district. I believe we have to go 3-1 against those two teams to achieve this goal.”

Reserve Christian School

The Lady Eagles basketball team is trying to follow in the footsteps of the success the boys team.

“I have got a lot of babies this season,” said head coach Kevin Branch.

What Branch meant by “babies” is he has no seniors and several freshmen and sophomores on his roster. The defending District 12-B champs feature the sohphomore tandem of Trenell and Trenese Smith. Trenell is averaging more than 25 points a game so far this season.

“Trenell is going to do some serious scoring for us this season,” Branch said.

Up-and-coming players include Randi Donald, an eighth-grader, and Jessica Porter.

“Randi is going to become a great asset for us in the future. She just loves to play basketball,” said Branch.

West St. John

The West St. John High School Lady Rams struggled last season with a 4-8 record in district and a 12-16 record overall.

This season the Lady Rams, coached by Lester Smith, will be faced with another likely tough task this season with games against Riverside and Newman.

Smith will have to rely on a young team and hope to be successful in a competitive District 9-2A.