Experienced Lady Tigers looking to make some noise
Expectations are high for the Donaldsonville Lady Tigers this season, and had coach Shawancy Joseph is confident her team can handle them.
Last year, Donaldsonville began the season with many fresh new faces in the lineup. The youth and inexperience forced them to go through some growing pains at times.
That shouldn't be the case this season. The Lady Tigers return all five starters from last year's team, including two other bench players that saw significant minutes.
"We have all seven girls returning this year, and we added eight freshmen. So, this year brings about excitement, because we have a team filled with hungry youth waiting for the opportunity to showcase their skills," Joseph said.
Last year, the Lady Tigers suffered through a midway stretch to the season in which they dropped seven of eight games. However, they finished strong, going 6-2 in their final eight games.
They headed into the postseason with a 15-12 record, but they were outed after one round.
Leading the charge for them last season was first-team all-district guard Daija Harvey. The senior signed with Southeastern last week.
Not only will she return in 2018-19, so will four other all-district performers in Jalair Johnson, L'Nysia Johnson, Shauncey Joseph and Quinntryce Bell.
"Jalair gives us an inside presence, and L'Nysia can hit the three-ball and is a great defender. Quinntryce can play inside and out," Coach Joseph said.
She also has high hopes for an incoming freshman.
"I believe Tia Richard will have a breakout season with her versatility. She gives us consistency at the point guard position. Last year, Daija Harvey and Shauncey Joseph shared the job," Coach Joseph said.
One of the reasons why Coach Joseph is so confident in her team is because of the great work they put in during the offseason.
"I'm really looking for the whole team to do big things because of the summer we had this year," Joseph said. "The girls attended weightlifting and conditioning every day. Not only that, we had a really good summer league, finishing 8-2."
The strength of the team is pretty clear for Coach Joseph.
"I believe our strongest aspect is our athleticism," Joseph said. "We will try to use it to our advantage on the defensive and offensive side of the ball. Applying pressure heavily will be to our advantage, especially with our speed and quickness. We can score quickly, which will make playing defense a little easier and fun."
The Lady Tigers will once again be competing for a league championship in District 10-3A. They'll also face a challenging non-district schedule that includes parish foe and defending Class 5A champion East Ascension.
"Overall, we have a good squad this year. My outlook on this season is to accomplish our short-term and long-term goals," Joseph said. "We are well-balanced because we have depth at every position.
"The most challenging thing for me this season is getting our younger girls to feel comfortable with what we are trying to accomplish. Coming from middle-school basketball is totally different. The pace of the game and overall understanding of the game must be on point."