Donaldsonville Tigers hoops preview

BOYS

Head coach: Lionel Gilbert (fourth year)

Record last season: 21-12

Playoffs: Lost to Jennings in second round

The Tigers return one full-time starter in senior LaDarrius Jackson who also is an all-state football player. Other key players include Everette Wilson (6'7), Dwayne Johnson (6'5) and senior Jaylin Williams.

"The loss of four starters, including Jacoby Simon (to Independence Junior College), has been tough on us. We have some young guys learning to play with each other," coach Lionel Gilbert said. "LaDarrius is our leader and very athletic."

The Tigers plan to utilize some man, matchup zone and three-quarter court pressure on defense.

"(It’s) early, but the guys are starting to trust each other when pressuring the ball. We have a few potential rim protectors in Wilson and Johnson," Gilbert said.

On offense, the Tigers use a motion offense with dribble-drive opportunities, along with some set plays.

"Our high-low action is getting better. We can use our size to our advantage," Gilbert said.

The Tigers continue to work on fundamentals and shooting, consistent play and limiting turnovers. "Our shooting has to be more consistent so we can pull defenders from the lane and make some space," Gilbert said.

Early games against Scotlandville, Dutchtown and White Castle have provided good competition for a team that lacks in starting experience.

"We play a tough schedule and have a really good win over Airline (5A)" Gilbert said. Defending select champ DeLaSalle, St. Charles, Lusher and rival St. James make for a tough district.

"No easy nights in our district for sure; looking forward to seeing how we do," Gilbert said.

GIRLS

Head coach: Shawancy Joseph (third year)

Record last season: 14-16

Playoffs: Lost to Albany in second round

The Lady Tigers return junior Deja Harvey (17 points per game) who has in-state offers from Nicholls and Southeastern and will rely heavily on her during the season.

The Lady Tigers lost top players Janira Collier and Mya Chatman from last year’s team.

"Deja continues to get better and has the potential to be our leader," coach Shawancy Joseph said.

Sophomore Jalair Johnson (7 points per game/8 rebounds) will play forward and provide some inside help. The rest of the roster consists of sophomores and freshmen, with no seniors on the team.

"We have a young team, can't afford to not do the little things each night," Joseph said.

The Lady Tigers plan to spread the floor on offense and play a 2-3 matchup zone.

"Early games have been decided late due to turnovers and inconsistent play; (we) have a few games we could have closed out," Joseph said.

The schedule has been challenging, with the biggest win coming against H.L. Bourgeois (5A). The Lady Tigers will face DeLaSalle, previous state champ Ursuline, St. Charles and rival St. James.

"This is a new district that has several good teams, will need to be playing our best ball when district begins," Joseph said.

Troy LeBoeuf covers sports for the Ascension Advocate. He can be reached at troyleboeuf@hotmail.com or ascension@theadvocate.com or on Twitter @Troyleboeuf.