The East Ascension boys basketball team heads into 2021 with a team first mentality, no stars on the team and a work ethic that is contagious.
“Our team plays together,” said coach Tyler Turner. "No one on this team cares who scores or gets the spotlight; they play as one."
The Spartans, 5-5 at press time, head into district 5-5A play this week. The Spartans finished last season with a 25-9 record and a playoff loss to eventual state runner-up Bonnabel. Gone from last year's team are Hobert Grayson IV (Northeast Mississippi Community College), Tre Joseph, Javon Carter, Cameron Dunbar, Nicholas Hills and Jarvon Anderson. Camryn Carter was expected to return for his senior year and would have been one of the top players in the state, but he transferred to the famed Oak Hill Academy in Virginia.
Despite losing their top eight players, the work ethic and attitude of this year's team is positive. “The boys are working on cleaning up some small mistakes; that comes from being so young and inexperienced on the varsity level,” Turner said.
With district play beginning this week, there will be no easy nights for this young squad. “Our district is very competitive,” Turner said. "I believe the district is wide open; it will be a battle in each game."
The Spartans will battle McKinley, Catholic, Woodlawn and parish rivals St. Amant and Dutchtown. The Spartans are ranked 12th in the 5A power rankings. The top teams in 5A are Hahnville, West Monroe, Zachary, Natchitoches Central, Northshore and Bonnabel. “Whomever wins 5A will have earned it,” Turner said. "This class is tough from top to bottom and all of the teams are well coached."
As the Spartans continue to gain experience, with most players playing varsity for the first time, the key will be to build confidence and play as a team. “You have to bring your ‘A’ game every time you step on the floor, practice or games; it is the only way we teach it,” Turner said.
All-District teams announced
The All-District ranking are out, with Ascension Catholic well represented in District 7-1A and Ascension Christian receiving recognition.
Take a look.
First team offense:
Quarterback, Bryce Leonard, Ascension Catholic
Running back, Khai Prean, Ascension Catholic
Running back, Barry Richards, White Castle
Running back, Skylar Jones, East Iberville
Wide receiver, Troy Cole, Ascension Catholic
Wide receiver, Brooks Leonard, Ascension Catholic
Wide receiver, Joseph Schlatre, St. John
Tight end, A’Zarion Ross, East Iberville
Offensive line, Fred Villavaso, White Castle
Offensive line, Owen Smith, Ascension Catholic
Offensive line, Devin Pedescleaux, Ascension Catholic
Offensive line, Lance Captain, East Iberville
Offensive line, J’Quinn Williams, East Iberville
Athlete, Roderique Valentine, East Iberville
Kicker, Jacob Dunn, Ascension Catholic
Kicker, Casey Mays, Ascension Catholic
Co-MVPs: Khai Prean, Ascension Catholic, and Roderique Valentine, East Iberville
First team defense:
Defensive line, J’Mond Tapp, Ascension Catholic
Defensive line, Tre’ Williams, Ascension Catholic
Defensive line, Brandon Garner, East Iberville
Defensive line, Nick Davis, Ascension Christian
Linebacker, Brayden Duhon, Ascension Catholic
Linebacker, Jacob Dunn, Ascension Catholic
Linebacker, Deshawn Alexander, East Iberville
Linebacker, Josh Daigle, St. John
Defensive back, Trey Perkins, East Iberville
Defensive back, Lex Melancon, Ascension Catholic
Defensive back, Matthew Lafleur, Ascension Catholic
Defensive back, Joseph Schlatre, St. John
Flex, Skylar Jones, East Iberville
Punter, Matthew Lafleur, Ascension Catholic
Defensive MVP: J’Mond Tapp, Ascension Catholic
Coach of the Year: Ascension Catholic staff
Donaldsonville High School also was honored to have coach Brian Richardson named co-coach of the year and the following players named to their district's first team:
All purpose offense, Joshua Collier
All purpose offense, Raeland Johnson
Offensive line, Christian Howard
Defensive end, Randell Oatis