Last call for basketball

Kyle Riviere
kriviere@weeklycitizen.com
Donaldsonville's Jacoby Simon was a first-team All-Parish selection. Photo by Kyle Riviere.

Putting together an All-Parish team is always a challenge—especially in a parish that is so rich in talented young athletes.

That challenge just increases when it comes to the All-Parish boy’s and girl’s basketball teams. Only 12 players can make it.

After the great seasons we had here in Ascension and after all the great performances that went along with them, it was hard to narrow it down to that number.

I was able to pull it off, but unfortunately, quite a few deserving players were left out.

As you might have expected, East Ascension High had the greatest presence of the six parish schools as they placed nine athletes on the All-Parish teams.

This was truly the year of East Ascension basketball.

The girl’s team went from barely making the playoffs in 2015, to being the No. 2 seed in the 2016 Class 5A playoffs.

The Lady Spartans had a sensational turnaround under longtime head coach Dennis Chandler. They ended the regular season on a 22-game winning streak and clinched the District 5-5A tile by beating their opponents by an average of 30 points per game.

Chandler was an easy pick as the Parish Coach of the Year for the girl’s team. The way they went from barely squeezing into the postseason to being one of the most dominant teams in the state with the same personnel was amazing.

Alynzia Morris continued to collect postseason honors. She was already named District 5-5A’s overall MVP. Now, she is the Parish MVP.

Morris really did it all for East Ascension this season. She used her size to do the dirty work down low, while using her agility to get transition buckets and her shooting skills to make 3-point baskets.

Teammate Tristian Washington was crowned the Parish Defensive Player of the Year for the girls. In almost every East Ascension game I covered this season, I saw Washington making three and four steals and flying across the court for easy layups.

The East Ascension boys won more games than any Ascension Parish team with 26. This string of victories included an undefeated run to the District 5-5A championship.

It earned the Spartans the No. 1 seed in the Class 5A playoffs. Though, like the girls, they were upset in the second round.

Leading the charge again for East Ascension was Le’Aaron Cain. Cain was the district’s Overall MVP, and for the second straight season, the senior also earned Parish MVP honors.

Cain was the most dangerous offensive weapon in the parish for the past two years. Much like Morris, he could score from anywhere on the court, and when he got hot, he could take a game over.

One of the most refreshing things about the 2016 Ascension basketball season was the resurgence of Dutchtown.

The boy’s program had suffered through some dark times in the previous two seasons. In those two years, they only won 13 total games and two district contests.

In 2016, they won 17 games and four league matchups.

Due to this improvement, the Griffins were able to make the playoffs for the first time in three years.

This is why I decided to give the nod to Dutchtown’s Patrick Hill as the Parish Coach of the Year.

After rebuilding for two seasons, the longtime Griffin coach was able to turn his squad into winners again, behind All-Parish players like Nick Caldwell and Gary Smith.

The Donaldsonville basketball teams had great season in their own right as both squads reached the second round of the playoffs.

The Donaldsonville boys headed into the postseason with the No. 8 seeding—which was the best in the parish, outside of East Ascension.

Four players from the school made both teams—including two for the boys.

In addition to Jacoby Simon making the first team, senior Terry Holmes was named the Parish Defensive Player of the Year.

Holmes has freakish hops, and he used it to his advantage throughout the season.

In addition to throwing down some of the most impressive dunks I saw in the parish all year, he was always there to protect the paint and use his athleticism to get up and block and alter shots.

He might not have consistently scored 15 and 20 points per game, but the Tigers could always count on him doing the blue-collar work down low.