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East Ascension head coach Tyler Turner coaches against Catholic High in February at Catholic High in Baton Rouge.

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

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