ABBEVILLE — Vermilion Catholic coach Kim Guidry said there are many similarities between the 2013 Eagles and the 1999 team that won a Class 1A state championship.
For starters, VC won its only state title playing in Monroe. This year’s final is also in Monroe.
Vermilion Catholic expected to play Arcadia in the semifinal round in 1999, but Arcadia lost in the regional round. In 2013, the Lady Eagles penciled in Arcadia for their semifinal game, but that did not happen because it lost in the regional round.
Another similarity is how the 1999 Eagles players compare to the 2013 players.
In 1999, the Eagles beat Ringgold behind the inside game of 6-foot players (Macie Meaux and Brooke Williams).
“This year’s club resembles the 1999 team. We have the height, good ball handlers and have good fundamentals,” Guidry said. “All that applies to both (1999 and 2013) teams.”
Fourteen years ago, this year’s VC players were only 2- or 3-years-old. They have grown up and have the Eagles back in the 1A state final, the first time since 1999. The No. 2-seeded Eagles (29-6) play No. 1 seed West St. John (30-1) in the LHSAA/Top 28 Tournament at noon Thursdayin the Fant-Ewing Coliseum in Monroe.
When the season began, Guidry, in her 26th year, hoped her team would be good enough to reach the final.
“At the start of this season, it is always a coach’s dream to play for a state title,” said Guidry. “It is the ultimate goal.”
The Lady Eagles, who did not win their district, have three players who average in double digits in scoring.
Katie Frith, a 5-foot-11 junior forward, averages 22 points and 10 rebounds. Sophomore Kalin Collins, at 5-11, is VC’s other top rebounder. She averages 12 points and eight rebounds.
Ashlailee Brailey, a 5-foot-8 sophomore forward, is scoring 25 points and pulling down six rebounds a game. Other VC starters are senior 5-3 guard Natalie Camel (nine points per game) and 5-3 guard Ellen Langlinais (five points per game). The Eagles also have four bench players who contribute.
Guidry likes to have four players who can come off the bench. “I am comfortable knowing I can play nine kids,” she said.
Heading into the game, Guidry said she expects to use all nine players in order to compete with West St. John. VC players and coaches watched film on West St. John the past two days. West St. John beat two district foes of VC, Hanson and Central Catholic, en route to the final.
Her scouting report said West St. John likes to shoot 3-pointers. On the other hand, VC likes to score inside, using height advantage as it did in 1999.
“I am excited for the kids. It is not about me,” she said. “I told the kids to go out and leave their own legacy. To enjoy it. This is for them.”