Lady Tigers return talented roster in 2019-20

Kyle Riviere
Quinntryce Bell (No. 32) is back as one of Donaldsonville's top returning starters this season. Photo by Kyle Riviere

Heading into the 2019-20 season for Donaldsonville, there is a both good news and bad news for the team.

The bad news is that they will be without Daija Harvey, who was their best player for the past two seasons. However, the good news is that everyone else returns from a team that reached the state quarterfinals last year.

The 2018-19 seasons was one of the best the Lady Tigers have had in recent memory.

Donaldsonville went 21-7 and earned the seventh seed in the Class 3A playoffs. Once in the postseason, the Lady Tigers defeated both Green Oaks and Washington-Marion to punch their ticket to the state quarterfinals.

There, Donaldsonville dropped a seven-point contest to eventual state runner-up Madison Prep.

Leading the charge for the Lady Tigers was Harvey. She was the team's only first-team all-district selection. She also earned first-team All-Parish honors.

Harvey scored her 1,000th point during her senior campaign last season, and she went on to sign with Southeastern.

"We'll miss her," Lady Tiger head coach Shawancy Joseph said. "She left her mark here at Donaldsonville, and I'm hoping everyone coming behind her carries that same intensity and that same great character. Daija brought so much to our team. She was our floor general and go-to player when we needed a bucket. I'm looking forward to seeing who will step up for those big shots this year."

When it comes to replacing Harvey's production, there are some prime candidates.

Donaldsonville returns two players in Quinntryce Bell and Jalair Johnson that both earned second-team all-district and All-Parish honors last season.

"Quinntryce Bell, a senior guard, is stepping into a leadership role and will play a major part in guiding the younger players," Joseph said. "She has an all-around game. She shoots the 3-ball, has a mid-range jumper and is one of our best defenders. If she continues to improve, we will be in great shape."

Coach Joseph is also excited about the return of sophomore guard Tia Richard.

"She's coming off of a season where she was forced to start, even though she played better coming off of the bench," Joseph said. "I think having one year under her belt, she will be able to control the pace of the game and understand her teammates better."

When it comes to new faces that could make a big impact on this year's team, Coach Joseph is looking to freshman guard Janae Southall.

"She understands the game and is able to create her own shots," Joseph said. "She was able to get the feel for the pace of the game through summer-league play. My job is to just put her in the right positions in which her ability allows her to excel."

Donaldsonville has gotten off to a 2-2 start in 2019. Their two losses came to 5A Hahnville and Lafayette Christian, a team that has won three straight Division-IV state titles.

There will be some change in store for the Lady Tigers this season. They have moved districts from 9-3A to 10-3A.

St. James will remain their league foe, but their new rivals will include E.D. White, Patterson, Lutcher and Berwick.

Coach Joseph said that she thinks her team's success will hinge on their ability to out-pace their opponents.

"Our team strength is our ability to get up and down the floor with our speed and quickness, which we look to use as an advantage," Joseph said.