ESJH team leaders leave their marks: Poullard, Gautreaux & Monroe make college commitments

Published 12:20 am Saturday, May 19, 2018

RESERVE — Much of the success the East St. John High girl’s basketball team has seen over the past seasons comes down to phenomenal leadership from four graduating seniors, according to head coach Stasha James.

The girls commanded respect on the court, naturally falling into trailblazing roles. Next fall, three will take their basketball careers to the collegiate level.

Kynedi Poullard loves the focus and collaboration of the game, and she looks forward to working with teammates to achieve a common goal on the Delgado women’s basketball team.

Athletics run in Poullard’s family. Both her parents were high school basketball players, and she’s run the court since she was 4 years old.

The highlight of her career thus far was her second-to-last game with the Lady Cats.

Underdogs in the face of the No. 2 seed Ponchatoula Green Waves, the Lady Cats played with passion and vigor, coming out with an unexpected 52-35 win in the LHSAA regional playoffs.

“That’s something I’m always going to remember because no one expected us to win,” Poullard said.

Through the years, she’s consistently been named honorable mention All-District, and she was recently awarded “Most Dedicated” for her commitment to her team’s success.

At Delgado, she plans to combine her love for athletics and culinary arts by pursuing a career in sports nutrition.

Senior Meah Monroe loves that basketball keeps her calm in a way no other sport can, and she’ll use her athletic scholarship to sharpen her skills at Pearl River Community College for the 2018-19 season.

Monroe scored her 1,000th career point at East St. John this season and was awarded Senior All-Star Game Participant, Leading Scorer/Rebounder and Defensive MVP.

This year, Monroe was named an all-state honorable mention, a designation only two East St. John girls basketball players have achieved in nine years, James said.

Monroe was drawn to Pearl River because of its beautiful and welcoming environment, and she looks forward to helping her team win a title while pursuing a degree in primary education.

She’s always enjoyed working with children and helping her younger cousins.

Ja’keyra Gautreaux has overcome adversity on the basketball court, fighting to recover from a broken leg that left her sidelined for more than a year.

The experience sparked an interest in physical therapy, which she hopes to pursue alongside her basketball career at Southern Crescent Tech, Southern University of New Orleans or Gulf Coast Community College.

At an awards night celebration Wednesday, Gautreaux was recognized for making second team all-district, participating in the senior all-star game and maintaining the highest free-throw percentage throughout the season.

Gautreaux is still weighing her offers, but her ultimate choice will be a campus where she can train and grow as a person.

“I’m looking forward to getting back to the game, focusing more and becoming the best person I can be, with or without basketball,” Gautreaux said.

Though senior Taylor Lipps chose not to play college basketball, James said she deserves recognition as team MVP, a member of the 1,000 Point Club, first team all-district, honorable mention all-state and MVP Senior All-Star Participant.

“They’re a phenomenal group,” James said.

“Put them all together and you have a great team, even with just those four players. They’re great players on and off the court. They truly deserve everything that they’ve gotten in terms of scholarships.”