Parish players prevalent on all-district teams
It was a strong year for Ascension Parish boy’s basketball as all six teams made the playoffs and three schools came just one victory away from the state quarterfinals.
With such excellence achieved on the hardwood, many parish standouts found their names on their respective all-district teams.
Leading the charge in Class 5A was East Ascension. In their third season under head coach Barry Whittington, Jr., the Spartans flourished.
They finished the regular season with a parish-best record of 26-6. This included a six-game winning streak down the stretch.
East Ascension brought home another District 5-5A championship after cruising through league play with a perfect 10-0 record.
These accolades all helped the Spartans earn the No. 1 seeding in the Class 5A playoffs.
They rolled to a first-round victory, but in round two, they were upset by No. 17 Slidell. It ended their quest to duplicate the previous year’s memorable run to the state semifinals.
Still, East Ascension had three players make the All-District 5-5A first team.
Senior Le’Aaron Cain was named the district’s MVP, and Whittington was named Coach of the Year.
Joining the two for the league’s top honors were junior point guard Jimel London and junior center Cameron Wire.
East Ascension archrival, St. Amant also had a nice season under fourth-year head coach Travis Uzee, despite being displaced throughout the year.
The Gators weren’t able to play in the Gold Dome as it continued to take on repairs following August’s catastrophic flood. Instead, they played most of their home games in Dutchtown’s gym.
St. Amant went 20-11 during the regular season and earned the No. 18 seeding in the playoffs. Their season ended in the first round as they were beaten by Zachary on the road.
Two Gators made the All-District 5-5A first team in sophomore point guard K.J. Franklin and senior forward Kameron Kelson.
Dutchtown had a great turnaround season under longtime head coach Patrick Hill.
After winning just 13 combined games in the past two seasons, the Griffins won 17 in 2016-17. They also won four district games—which doubled their league win-total of the past two years.
As a result, Dutchtown returned to the playoffs for the first time in three years, but they were dropped in the first round by eighth-seeded Ruston.
For the Griffins, senior forward Devin Jackson was named the District 5-5A Co-Defensive MVP, along with Broadmoor’s Nigel Jones.
Also, sophomore Nick Caldwell was a first-team all-district selection.
In Class 3A, Donaldsonville had a productive season under third-year head coach Lionel Gilbert.
The Tigers finished 18-16 during the regular season and went 5-5 in the brutal District 6-3A.
Their impressive strength of schedule earned them the No. 8 seeding in the Class 3A playoffs.
Donaldsonville won their first-round game, but they were upset by No. 9 Jennings in round two, 67-63.
Despite the loss, Coach Gilbert was proud of the effort his guys put into the season.
He said, “I really enjoyed this year. I saw a lot of growth in a bunch of the guys this season—a lot of guys that will be back next year. It gives us a positive outlook on the future. I thought that our seniors did a great job of showing what it takes to be committed. I think they moved this program in the right direction. Hopefully, we can continue on that path. I think these guys left a good mark for us to build on.”
One of the Tiger seniors that left his mark was Jacoby Simon. Simon earned his spot on the All-District 6-3A first team.
In Class 1A, Ascension Catholic made a return to the postseason under second-year head coach Kylon Green.
The Bulldogs reached the second round of the newly-formed Division-IV playoffs, before losing to third-seeded Hamilton Christian.
Ascension Catholic had one player make the All-District 6-1A squad. That distinction went to senior guard Jacoby Stewart. Stewart was a second-team selection.