Josh LeBlanc defensive force for Madison Prep _lowres

Advocate staff photo by JOHN OUBRE -- Madison Prep's Josh LeBlanc grabs a rebound over Port Allen's Michael Williams in December.

Josh LeBlanc isn’t like most high school basketball players.

At a time when a lot of young players want to drive to the basket or do their best Stephen Curry impression behind the 3-point line, the Madison Prep sophomore wants to get in their way.

LeBlanc likes to play defense, and at 6-foot-5, he’s good at it, too.

“I like playing defense because defense turns into offense,” LeBlanc said. “Knowing that my presence down low under the goal when someone is coming at the basket makes them alter their shot feels good.”

LeBlanc is a defensive force on, leading the Chargers with 11.4 rebounds, 5.4 blocks and two steals per game.

He says it’s the result of hard work and dedication while his coach, Jeffery Jones, said it’s more a result of his natural instincts taking over near the basket. Either way, his talents are already receiving notoriety from the collegiate level.

LeBlanc said he isn’t thinking about college yet, but has him listed as the No. 2 player in the state for the class of 2018 and the No. 22 prospect nationally.

If there is an aspect of LeBlanc’s game that needs more work, it’s his offense, Jones said. But even there he’s the Chargers’ second leading scorer at 16.1 points per game.

LeBlanc’s love of defense has reached the point where Jones said he’s having to “twist his arm” to take more shots.

Jones said he’s seen LeBlanc’s offensive skills develop over the past year — particularly with a focus on improving his mid-range shooting — but it’s undeniable his forte is defense.

“Offense is going to come and go, but defense is what’s going to carry you,” Jones said. “That’s been Josh as long as I’ve known him. That’s where he’s comfortable at, playing defense.”

The Chargers (31-4) will need LeBlanc to be at his best the next few weeks as top-seeded Madison Prep tries for a state championship in its first season in Class 2A after winning last season’s 1A championship.

After dominating the first two rounds, Madison Prep hosts No. 8 Many (23-6) at 7 p.m. Friday.

“There was really no adjustment,” Jones said of Madison Prep moving up to Class 2A. “We’ve always played 2A and 3A competition. We only play our class in district and in the playoffs. We’re accustomed to playing high level competition.”