Leadership is something developed over time, cultivated through years of experience and a luxury many teams don’t have.
But the Carencro Bears are lucky enough to have two senior leaders to help lead an otherwise young team.
Seniors Jacob Siner and Devante Parker have embraced their leadership role and have the Bears poised for a District 3-5A run after a crucial comeback win over rival Acadiana on Thursday.
“It’s an honor for me to lead the younger guys this season that want to come in and play hard,” Siner said. “They are learning, and we are just trying to teach them what we’ve learned over the past few years.”
Parker said they try to do everything they can to help the team and receive help from juniors like Bryson Fontenot, Araden Adams and Dandre Dudley.
As the team’s floor general, Siner has assumed a dual role of not only leadership, but also the team’s go-to scorer in crunch time.
Carencro coach Christopher Kovatch said it has been impressive to watch Siner grow into a leader, especially at a point guard, a position that isn’t a natural fit for his abilities.
“Jacob has to sacrifice a lot for us because he’s not a true point guard. He really should be on the wing,” Kovatch said. “So with his ability to understand the game more and be that person to pick up someone on the floor after a mistake it has been huge for us and has meant a lot for our development.”
Siner’s leadership skills, as well as his rare scoring touch, were on full display against Acadiana.
In the closing minutes with Carencro protecting a slim lead, freshman Braylon Chaisson was sent to the free-throw line with a chance to extend the lead and effectively end the game.
Siner was the first Carencro player at Chaisson’s side, arm around his shoulder, giving the younger player advice.
“I learned it from the seniors during my freshman year,” Siner said. “I saw in Braylon that he could be a really good player when he gets older, so I just tried to do my best to tell him to keep his head up.”
A big reason the Bears had the lead in the closing minutes was Siner’s ability to score at will, and Kovatch said it has been a luxury to have such a gifted scorer on the floor.
“Those guys only come along every so often, and you aren’t always blessed with that luxury as a high school coach,” Kovatch said. “So when you have a guy that you can count on to find the bottom of the net in crunch time situations it does make your job a little easier.”
While the Bears count on Siner to lead the team in scoring, Parker has a different leadership role.
The Bears center learned his leadership skills through hardship during his first two years in high school.
Parker tore his ACL during his freshman year, forcing him to sit out two years and have his knee completely reconstructed during his sophomore season.
“At some point in time I had things that held me down,” Parker said. “I saw the things that really helped me while I was on the sidelines, so I try to encourage my teammates to make the correct changes and do what they can so that we can start winning games.”
Kovatch said watching Parker grow as a person through his career has been gratifying.
He said the team emphasizes the idea of family, taking care of one another on and off the court, and Parker has completely bought into the concept.
“We are all so attached as a program, so it’s always tough to see a kid that you love go through physical pain,” Kovatch said. “It’s so impressive to see him constantly be positive through everything, and even though he’s not a point guard, he’s a coach amongst the players.”
Parker’s experience on the sidelines while recovering from injury has helped him adopt an active role on the team even when he’s on the bench during games.
Against Acadiana, Parker saw limited time because of the game’s up-tempo style, but he stayed engaged on the bench, consoling players when they were down and celebrating once they took the lead.
“To me, its just like I’m still on the court even though I’m not on the court, I still feel what they are feeling even though I’m not out there,” Parker said.
The maturity is rare for a young player, but it’s something Kovatch has grown to expect from Parker.
Even though he may have a different style than Siner, Kovatch appreciates having a player with the ability to lead whether he’s leading them in scoring or helping from the bench.
“Devante has games where he is really going to have a major impact on the floor and sometimes he understands that certain paces and certain matchups don’t favor him,” Kovatch said. “He’s such an intelligent kid that he understands that well, and its such a positive thing.”
“We make it a point of constantly pointing that out to the young kids and trying to get them to understand that here’s this guy who his one goal is team success. This is the way to be.”