Destrehan’s Cara Ursin turns talent, passion into another postseason award, Miss Basketball _lowres

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON--Destrehan's Cara Ursin shoots over Salmen's Arianna Cooks, left, and Jayla Faciane during the Allstate Sugar Bowl National Prep Classic on Thursday night in the Alario Center in Westwego.

It was an “ah ha” moment for Destrehan High School girls basketball coach Angi Butler.

Butler had seen her star player Cara Ursin do some amazing things with a basketball in three seasons as a starter, but on this night, she seemed to do no wrong.

The Wildcats were playing Chalmette in the first round of the Class 5A playoffs and the 5-foot-8 junior guard was on fire.

“She hit every 2-pointer, every 3-pointer, every free throw,” Butler said. “She would have made every layup but she got pushed out of bounds. She still came back and made both free throws. I was just sitting there going, ‘wow.’ I’ve seen her excel, I’ve seen her do well, but I never saw anything like that.”

Destrehan won by 40 points. Ursin finished with 36 points and added another chapter to her already storied career, which counts her as one of the best to play the game.

That is evidenced by her selection by the Louisiana Sports Writers Association as this year’s Farm Bureau/Miss Basketball.

“I’m very excited,” Ursin said. “It just shows how hard I have worked and how I have a passion for the game.”

Ursin, who was selected the Most Outstanding Player on the LSWA’s Class 5A all-state team, also was named the Gatorade Player of the Year for the second year in a row. She averaged 25 points, 12.9 rebounds, 7.3 assists and 5.5 blocked shots per game.

Besides her stellar night against Chalmette, Ursin had a quadruple-double against St. Katharine-Drexel that included 24 points, 10 rebounds, 12 assists and 12 steals. She also had four triple-doubles and 21 double-doubles.

“Her drive to be a perfectionist is not like I’ve ever seen, and her will to win is huge,” Butler said. “She just kind of finds her own way of doing things and that helps her stand out. Her basketball IQ and the things she knows about the game are just amazing. Plus, she’s not afraid to work. Her favorite place to be is in the gym.

“If you give her an option of hanging out with her friends or shooting hoops, she’ll take shooting hoops every time. She’ll say her real friends would be there with her.”

Ursin said she feels like she had to prove herself this year and step out of the shadow of two-time Miss Basketball Kalani Brown of Salmen, who has moved on to Baylor.

“Kalani is a great player,” Ursin said. “But somebody had to do something.”

Now she is beginning to think about her college choices, with offers from Baylor, Texas, South Carolina and Tennessee, among others. Ursin said she won’t wander too far from home.

“I have to do what’s best for me as a player,” she said. “But I don’t want to go so far away that my family can’t come see me play. That’s really not fair to the people who have supported me so much.”