With a 1-2 record at press time, the 1A Ascension Catholic’s boys’ basketball team could be a bit discouraged. But that’s not how first-year head coach Kylon Green sees it.
“We lost a close game to Berwick, which is a good team, and lost to Zachary,” he said. “We will use these two games as a learning experience, and they were a good measuring stick for us.”
So how do the Bulldogs stack up this year? “We have two returning starters from last year, Javon Yarbrough and Kaleb Winchester, but we also have two other players, junior Kebori Hunter and junior Jacoby Stewart, who has considerable amount of playing time with the 2014-15 team,” Green said.
Winchester and Hunter are the offensive leaders and contributing on defense, he said.
As far as youth is concerned, the coach said he will be counting on freshman Jamil Truxillo.
“But we have another first-timer on the basketball squad, senior D.C. Mattingly, who is our spark on the team,” he said. Mattingly was the starting quarterback for the Bulldogs and decided to give the basketball team a try.
Ascension Catholic’s biggest competition for this season will be the Southern Lab Kittens as well as the White Castle Bulldogs, who are 6-3. But the biggest challenge might well be that Green will be the Bulldogs’ fourth coach in four years.
“My goal for this year is to assure the guys that I’ll be around for a while and get us to the next level,” he said. “We’ve made the playoffs in the last three years but we want to use our experience to get to the second round this season.”
Their season opener was against the Berwick Panthers (8-3), a 3A team that looks to do well in district play with a shot at the title. The Bulldogs, behind the scoring of senior guard Kaleb Winchester’s 17 points, led at the half 28-24. But the offense couldn’t quite keep up the pace as they were outscored 26-19 in the second half and lost a close one 50-47.
Game two was not so nice to the Bulldogs as the 5A Zachary Broncos (6-3) came into town and left with a 93-58 win. Winchester led the Bulldog scorers again with 18 points.
In game three against the Holden Rockets (5-8), the offense and defense played with consistency and Ascension Catholic came away with its first win of the season 57-48. Winchester led the scoring with 19 points while junior Hunter had an all-star performance night with 17 points and 13 steals.
Winchester has a shot at breaking scoring record
Winchester comes into the season with 1,524 points under his belt. He has averaged 508 points for each of his three seasons. He needs 530 points to tie the 2,054 points all-time leading scorer Lane Frey scored from 1996-99. The former Bulldog All-District and All- State standout went on to play at Southeastern Louisiana University as a starter for three years.
Troy LeBoeuf coached Frey at Ascension Catholic High School in his junior year and was head coach for his senior year.
“Lane was a great athlete and person as well. If you had a son, he is who you’d like him to be. He was very unselfish on the court,” LeBoeuf said. “As a matter of fact, I had to threaten him to make him shoot more. I’m still active in all things Bulldog and know Kaleb as well. He has a great opportunity in front of him. It will be exciting to watch this season.”
Although coach Green is coaching Winchester for his first time, he’s known him for a long time. “He’s always been a very special player; he can get it done on both ends of the court,” Green said. “His peers follow him; as he goes, we go. He’s very passionate about the game and is always willing to learn new things. He puts 100 percent in everything he does.”
So Winchester started off this season by averaging 18 points in the three games they’ve played. He needs to average a little over 20 points per game to tie or break the record. So just how does he feel?
“Man, I’d like to do this a lot because it makes me feel good on the inside. It would make my mom and dad proud of me,” Winchester said.
What does he think his chances are of accomplishing this feat? “I think I really have a good chance. I’ve been averaging 21 or 22 points a game so I think I have a good shot at breaking the record.”
Frey is well aware of Winchester’s opportunity to break his record.
“I am very excited for his opportunity and hope he plays well enough to beat my record. Nothing would make me happier,” Frey said.
Frey is now an endocrinologist for Thibodaux Regional Hospital and a proud father of a 6-month-old boy. He keeps up with Bulldog sports through his former coach, Troy LeBouef, and hopes to make a game to see Kaleb play near the end of the season.
Girls’ All-District volleyball teams selected for Baton Rouge area
The All-District volleyball teams were selected last week for the Baton Rouge area.
In Division I, District 4 on the First Team are Maggie Duplechein and Kourtney Gremillion representing the St. Amant Gators. Emily Venable, Caitlin Henderson and Jessie Watts represented the East Ascension Spartans, while Caroline Beeman and Kristen Thompson represented the Dutchtown Griffins. On the Second Team are Whitney Jones and Katelyn Lund from Dutchtown along with Madison Anderson, Megan Marchand and Taylor Tidwell, of St. Amant.
Selected for the Most Valuable Player was Dutchtown’s Thompson. The Defensive Most Valuable Player was Brianne Babin, of the St. Amant Gators, and honored as Coach of the Year was Jamie Gilmore, of the East Ascension Spartans.
The Lady Spartans had high expectations this season.
“Our expectations were to get to state this year,” Gilmore said. “We were in the top eight and had a second-round home game. We fell a little short of our expectations but we had a great season.”
The Spartans’ close playoff loss to Northshore (26-24, 25-21 and 27-25) proved how strong the team was.
Gilmore said the honor meant a lot “because I know that it’s because of the wonderful players I coach that this team has become successful.”
“Without their hard work and dedication to each other, this team, and to me, we wouldn’t be able to accomplish what we have.”
In Division III, District 6, Tyriel Riley was selected on the First Team representing the Donaldsonville Tigers along with Ambrosia Johnson is Jimmia Williams on the Second Team. In Division V, District 3 selected on the First Team was Grace Villa and Rae’Shaun Melancon representing the Ascension Catholic Bulldogs along with Second Team selections were teammates Carson Dunn, Julie Beck and Kaylee Burns.
Lyle Johnson covers sports for The Ascension Advocate. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or ascension @theadvocate.com.