DHS to celebrate 40 years of girls’ hoops

A stock photo of the DHS girls’ basketball team that was reestablished in 1974.

In a December 19, 1974 issue of the Donaldsonville Chief, it read that Donaldsonville High School girls’ basketball team was reinstated. On Dec. 19 that very team will celebrate its 40-year anniversary during the halftime of the Lady Tigers’ game against Assumption at the DHS Gym at 6 p.m.

Members of that team included: Trena Whittington, Patti Latino, Linda Canty, Julie Mallory, Thera Jarvis, Tammy Martin, Theresa Price, Lizzie Caldwell, Leana Chatman, Vera Singleton, Debbie Brown, Cathy Foster, Cathy Foster, Valerie Smith, Debra Jones, Blair Davidson, and head coach Annie Nichols.

Leana Chatman was in the tenth grade when the team started and came in as a pretty talented and tall forward. She said she never played basketball before until nor did she realize DHS didn’t have a team for the past few years. However she was confident she knew how to that year but shoot, dribble, and make lay-ups. Thus good enough to help start the program. A program that went on to be pretty good, despite winning few games in its first season.

“We played as a team. There was no one that was selfish,” Chatman said, who played from 1974-1977. “We cheered each other on.”

Chatman remembers losing the very first game, but said it was still an exciting time.

“I think we were just excited that we were on a basketball team,” Chatman said.

Cathy Gautreaux was the starting center for that team and she was a senior so she only played one season, however she remembers being committed to bringing back the girls’ basketball team.

“Unfortunately, I remember that the boy’s head coach at the time did not want the girl’s team to become a reality – I guess over an allocation of funding,” Gautreaux said. “I know Coach Annie Nichols worked very hard to get our team authorized, organized and funded.”

Being a senior player, Gautreaux remembers a lot from that year including when the team first got its uniforms.

Gautreaux said she still has her senior jacket with the school’s red and black colors. 

“I think I am the most proud of the fact that we all got along so well – no jealousy, no bigotry, no prejudice,” Gautreaux said. “We were just a small group of scrappy girls who wanted to play basketball, and proud to be DHS Tigers.”

Thera Jarvis was in the eleventh grade when the team started and she was the playmaker also known as the point guard. Jarvis remembers struggling to win games in the team’s first season, but the next year the team was much more successful. Additionally, Jarvis said it was just great to be on an organized team.

“We used to play in PE class and I loved it then, so when I found out that they were going to establish a girls team again, I was elated,” Jarvis said.

The members of the reestablishing team of Donaldsonville High girls’ basketball have memorabilia that they’ve kept through the years, including newspaper clippings from the Donaldsonville Chief.

Chatman said she has a scrapbook with a lot of the newspaper clippings, pictures, and even their old schedules.  

“I kept my Red All-star Tennis Shoes for many years after but I eventually threw them away,” she said. “They became very ragged.”