East Ascension Spartan ‘Way’ proves to work

Head coach: Barry Whittington (fourth year)

Last season: 26-7; lost to Slidell in second-round 5A playoffs

Top player lost: Le’ Aaron Cain (Lincoln Trail Community College)

The East Ascension Spartan “Way” has been instilled in the basketball players by coach Barry Whittington.

“The kids have bought in. We have a system and the seniors have showed the younger guys the way,” Whittington said.

East Ascension hoops is well-respected among the top basketball programs in the state. The Spartans returned three players with experience, including two four-year starters in Jimel London and Shedrick Smith.

“Jimel and Shedrick are two of our leaders along with senior Kevin Glover. Teams scheme against our top guys, and my coaching staff and I have to figure out to overcome that,” Whittington said.

Other players who have contributed this season are sophomores Hobert Grayson, Trey Joseph, Cameron Dunbar and Javon Carter. “The sophomore group is talented and are in the starting lineup and rotation,” Whittington said.

The Spartans are currently 16-6 and have played teams like Rayville and Scotlandville in the pre-district schedule. “Those two teams have been the best teams we have played before district; more than two guys to defend,” Whittington said.

District 5-5A is one of the toughest in the state and currently the entire district would make the playoffs if they started today.

“Our district is tough, everyone has double-digit wins and no easy nights in this district,” Whittington said.

The coaching staff is always looking to improve. Some areas include decision-making and limiting turnovers.

“We have had some games with late turnovers that hurt us with big leads. (We’ll) continue to work on that,” Whittington said.

The Spartans rely on a tough man-to-man defense and will play fast when the opportunity is there. “We have played sound half-court defense and have pressed some. Our offense will play fast, we are building to that,” the coach said.

Whittington and his staff have liked the play of the team and hope to build on it. “The mental part of the game for my guys is big, following the scouting reports and just competing “ he said.

The Spartan “Way” has been successful and I don’t see that changing. Watch out for the Spartans in the playoffs.

Ascension Parish hoops

Boys: overall/district

5-5A

St. Amant: 19-7, 1-0

East Ascension: 16-6, 1-0

Dutchtown: 13-6, 0-1

10-3A

Donaldsonville: 9-13, 3-0

6-1A

Ascension Catholic: 6-15, 0-2

Ascension Christian 2-18, 0-1

Girls:

5-5A

East Ascension: 14-2, 5-1

St. Amant: 14-11, 3-2

Dutchtown: 15-11, 3-3

10-3A

Donaldsonville: 10-12, 2-0

6-1A

Ascension Christian: 11-7, 1-0

Ascension Catholic: 1-11, 0-2

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