Arriving at a friend’s party, Breaux Bridge assistant coach Scott Borel noticed a young girl shooting hoops in the driveway.
Borel asked the girl if she liked basketball and got a simple response.
“I could play this all day.”
The girl was now-senior guard Jasmine Leblanc who, along with her point guard Caitlin Davis, is helping Breaux Bridge to a 22-3 season (8-0 in District 5-4A) that includes wins over top teams such as St. Thomas More.
Borel’s relationship with Leblanc, a Louisiana Tech commitment, manifests itself with the trust the two have in one another on the court.
Leblanc said she has worked with Borel since meeting him in sixth grade and credits him with helping her develop into the player she has become.
“She was a post player when she came in as a freshman,” Borel said. “But every Sunday I had her come in the gym and put up 500 shots to extend her range. That’s what made her game more versatile and what made colleges want to recruit her.”
Borel said everyday Leblanc would come to the gym to work on her outside game, putting up 400 or 500 shots to extend her range out to the 3-point line.
Leblanc said the workouts were always difficult, but she was always motivated to keep going because Borel convinced her she could be great.
“She didn’t use to think she could play at the next level,” Borel said. “But as she grew up and got in the gym she saw how great she could potentially be.”
But Borel never had to try too hard to convince Leblanc to get in the gym. He said the biggest growth in Leblanc’s game has been her maturity and her work habits.
“She is definitely a gym rat,” Borel said. “It comes with her desire to be great and the maturity she has developed throughout the years.”
Breaux Bridge coach Chana Jordan said Borel’s work with Leblanc and other players in the district has helped players develop faster than normal.
Jordan said by the time the boys team comes to the gym on the weekends to practice Borel has already moved the girls team through their individual workouts.
Her work ethic and maturity on the court has made Leblanc a natural leader. Being the team’s senior and leading scorer, Leblanc has a lot of in-game responsibility.
Leblanc shares her leadership role with Davis, a junior who controls the team’s offense and is the frontline of the team’s press defense.
Davis said Leblanc and her share a bond on the court, something the two have developed through countless hours of practice.
“We’re in different grades, so we don’t get to see each other at school too much,” Davis said. “But once we’re on the court, it all clicks.”
Borel said Davis has the rare ability as a young basketball player to know when to give up a good shot to get a great shot for one of her teammates.
Davis said her first move is to always get her teammates involved, something made easier with a dominant scoring guard like Leblanc.
Breaux Bridge’s coaching staff trusts Davis and Leblanc to relay information to them from the court on how to adjust the Lady Tigers’ scheme to the opposing team’s game plan.
“You have basketball players who have to learn how to play and basketball players who are born to play,” Borel said. “These two young ladies were born to play this game. They are like coaches on the floor.”
With Leblanc ready to take the next step in her basketball career at the conclusion of this season, she’s been able to look back at her four years and realize what she has accomplished.
“I feel like we have accomplished so much. We trust the coaches; the coaches trust the players,” Leblanc said.
“I just want to be able to finish this season outright and perform the same way we have been performing all the way into the playoffs,” Jordan said. “For coach (Borel) and for all the players.”