Ram Tough: West St. John’s Trench, Smith earn All-Parish honors

Published 12:03 am Saturday, March 19, 2016

EDGARD — Before the season began, West St. John girls basketball coach Lester Smith hinted that this might be his last.

After all, he said, 46 years was long enough in coaching, including nearly 28 as the leader of the Lady Rams.

He has led his teams to more district championships than he can count, and trips to the playoffs the last seven seasons. That includes trips to the quarterfinals the last three years in a row, a state runner-up finish in 2013 and a semifinals appearance in 2012.

There have been lean years, he said, but his last five teams have gone 47-1 in district play.

This might have been a perfect time for Smith to hang up his whistle. This year’s team finished 20-8 overall and 8-0 in its first foray into Class 2A. Whether it’s his last year or not, Smith is the Girls Coach of the Year on the L’OBSERVATEUR ALL-St. John Parish Girls Basketball Team.

“I haven’t made up my mind yet,” Smith said of his retirement plan. “I don’t know if I’m ready or not.”

It isn’t often that a coach gets a player like the one he has had for the last five years in senior Maya Trench, one who not only set new scoring records, but also had a special T-shirt made for her coach and herself. “A Bond That Will Last Forever.” She gave it to him on Senior Night as a surprise.

“He treated me like I was his daughter,” Trench said. “He taught me that no matter what happens in life, you have to keep going.”

The diminutive guard (she’s 5-foot-5) led the parish in scoring, averaging 19.2 points and six assists. Next year she will be headed off to play for Xavier University.

Trench is the L’OBSERVATEUR’s Player of the Year.

The rest of St. John the Baptist Parish’s basketball teams reached great heights as well. East St. John finished as the District 6-5A runner-up with a record of 18-2, 10-2 and was the No. 29 seed in the Class 5A bracket.

St. Charles Catholic finished 16-13, 3-5 and earned its first playoff spot since 2008 as the No. 28 seed. Riverside Academy finished 14-13, 3-5 and earned the No. 16 seed.


G Ja’Keyra Gautreaux, 5-8, Riverside Academy, So.

A young player with solid skills, she averaged 16 points, 7.5 rebounds and 4.5 assists for the Lady Rebels.

G Lela Hill, St. Charles Catholic, 5-2, Sr.

A prolific scorer who also played stellar defense, Hill averaged 15 points, four rebounds, three steals and two assists for the Lady Comets.

C/F Jaquana Hunter, West St. John, 5-7, Jr.

An outstanding shooter, Hunter averaged 13.2 points for the Lady Rams this season.

G/F Selena James, East St. John, 5-8, Jr.

A solid all-around player, James averaged 8 points, two assists and one steal per game.

G Caroline Julian, St. Charles Catholic, So.

Another young player, Julian averaged six points, four assists and two steals per game.

PG Taylor Lipps, East St. John, 5-11, So.

A young leader on the court, Lipps averaged 12 points per game, five assists, five steals and three rebounds per game.

F Heaven Mamou, St. Charles Catholic, So.

A young player with much potential, she averaged five points and seven rebounds per game for the Lady Comets.

C Meah Monroe, East St. John, 5-7, So.

She averaged 10 points per game, three assists, 1.3 steals and six rebounds for the Lady Wildcats.

C Dannecia Nora, Riverside Academy, 6-0, So.

A force under the basket, Nora averaged 12 points and 8.2 rebounds per game.

G Maya Trench, West St. John, 5-5, Sr.

The leading scorer in the parish, Trench averaged 19.2 points, three steals and six assists. She has signed to play for Xavier University.

Player of the Year:

Maya Trench, West St. John

Coach of the Year:

Lester Smith, West St. John