One of the winningest basketball coaches in the greater New Orleans area has reached another milestone.
With a 58-46 defeat of District 8-4A rival Lakeshore High on Tuesday night, Salmen coach Jay Carlin notched the 900th victory of his 39-year coaching career.
“I told my team that 900 wins is going to come,” Carlin said. “This game was all about picking up a very important district victory and putting ourselves in a better position to win a championship. The kids came out and responded. They were awesome in the first half (and) we let them back into it a little bit in the third quarter, but we responded in the fourth quarter.”
The most successful basketball coach in St. Tammany Parish history (former Covington High coach Hubie Gallagher is second at 599), Carlin began his head coaching career at South Lafourche in 1980 before making the move to Salmen in 1984.
“I have been fortunate enough to have the opportunity to coach a lot of great kids,” Carlin said. “Great players with a passion for the game. I have had great assistant coaches. We put our heart and soul into the game of basketball.
"It is my job to try and help kids become better young men, in addition to becoming better basketball players. When you have kids willing to work hard and achieve goals as a unit, good things happen. And when you coach long enough, milestones like can occur.”
Former Southern Lab and Lake Providence coach Joel Hawkins, who coached from 1965-2007, has the record for the most wins in state history; his overall record is 1,071-263. Leslie Gaudet, who coached Pine Prairie from 1936-42 and 1946-70, is second with 1,026 victories.
Charles Smith, who has coached Peabody since 1985, is the winningest active coach in the state with 1,028 wins heading into a Tuesday night game against Avoyelles.
As for Carlin and Salmen, they faced Lakeshore in the first of three meetings between the district rivals this season.
The story of Tuesday's game was the second quarter. Up 17-14 after the first eight minutes, the Spartans dominated the Titans, outscoring them 24-6 to push their advantage to 41-20 at halftime. Salmen’s smothering defensive attack held the Titans to a single field goal by Ben Kugler with 2:06 to go in the half.
Devon Lizana led the way for the Spartans with 16 points. Donald White had 10.
Lakeshore’s 3-point shooting kept the Titans in the game in the first quarter. Down 15-5 with 3:25 remaining in the opening quarter Justino Vasquez hit a pair of 3s and Kugler nailed another to make it a 17-14 game.
Vasquez led the Titans with 17 points and Kugler had 16. Hunter Dean added 10 in a losing effort.
Ranked 11th in the latest LHSAA Class 4A state power rankings, the Titans (20-3, 1-1) will return to action Friday at Pearl River.
No. 13 Salmen (16-8, 2-0) returns home Friday to take on Franklinton.