The District 10-2A basketball season begins Tuesday, and for the French Settlement boys, it’s a bit like a fresh start of sorts.
The Lions have played two games since Chase Delrie was relieved of his coaching duties during the school’s tournament just before Christmas, and Roy Moore, French Settlement’s junior high coach, was named interim coach for the remainder of the season.
“Every coach is going to have his own philosophy and his own way of doing things, so I’m different,” Moore said.
Moore said one of his main points after taking over was trying “to keep as much routine as possible for them and maybe add a few things that might help them.”
He said having former FSHS player Jackson LeBourgeois, the team’s volunteer assistant coach, has helped during the coaching transition in terms of keeping the team’s schemes and calls intact.
“He’s very valuable to have … having him to help me out with the things that they’ve been doing,” Moore said. “A lot of the terminology is going to remain the same. I don’t want to change up too much on the boys because you can’t start over in the middle of a season.”
French Settlement opens district play at Springfield on Tuesday.
“This is always a tough district,” Moore said. “It’s been extremely tough for French Settlement the last several years, especially. We haven’t won many games in district the last few years since I’ve been there. Springfield’s always pretty good. St. Thomas, St. Helena -- very athletic teams. Doyle’s always up there as one of the frontrunners. It’s going to be a difficult, uphill battle for us, but we’ve just got to fight every time we go out.”
Moore said the Bulldogs could give the Lions a gauge to see where the team stands in the district.
“It depends on how we come out and play,” he said. “It’s a tough one right off the bat on the road, without question.”
First-year Springfield coach John Hii, whose team has been led by veterans Bryce Johnson and Collin Hayden, said the focus is more on his team than the opponent heading into league play.
“I try to talk to the guys about things you can and things you can’t control,” Hii said. “We can’t really control what the other teams look like, what they do, what they run, but we can control what we’re supposed to do. So we’re just really focused on trying to get everything figured out to where we are giving ourselves a chance to win by doing the stuff that we’re supposed to be doing. We just haven’t quite clicked yet. We’ve shown glimpses of being really good, and then we’ve shown glimpses of being really bad. I’m really just trying figure us out before I worry about anybody else.”
The Bulldogs added Nylan Pinestraw, who was cleared last week after breaking his collarbone early during football season, and Hii is hoping things come together for his team during the remainder of the month.
“I do think that we will be a much better basketball team come January,” Hii said. “I’m excited about what we could be. I just hope that we reach our potential.”
Meanwhile, Doyle coach Daniel Kennedy, whose team hosts St. Helena on Tuesday, is expecting a close district race.
“I think it’s wide open,” he said. “To me, you look at each individual team and everybody’s different styles of play and everybody’s, I think, pretty good at what they do.”
He pointed out St. Helena’s athleticism and the fact that St. Thomas Aquinas is always prepared for district play.
“They’ve been at the top of the district ever since forever, it seems like, and you can’t look at their record,” Kennedy said of the Falcons.
Kennedy also singled out Johnson as possibly the league’s best player, while not discounting the roles other district teams could play in the way the race shakes out.
“They’ve (Springfield) got some talent, and French Settlement shoots the threes,” Kennedy said. “They’re always dangerous, and then you’ve got us. I really think it’s going to be a tight battle. I think we’ll probably all kind of beat up on each other. I hope that’s not the case because I’d love to win them all, but to be honest, I think every game in the district, regardless of who’s playing, will be a winnable game for either team. I really believe that. It’s just probably who executes and does the small things better.”
For the Tigers, those small things include transition defense, rebounding and playing as a team on offense.
“We don’t have a guy that we just try to pound the ball into, so if we play well together offensively, that’s about all I can ask for,” Kennedy said. “Let’s just be unselfish and share the ball and whoever has the open look, shoot the ball with confidence. That’s kind of how we play.”
It all adds up to what Kennedy is expecting to be a battle every game during league play.
“It’s probably as tight this year as it ever has been,” Kennedy said. “Usually it might be tight between three teams or so, but you usually have that one team that’s kind of more favored. I don’t see that this year.
“I’d be shocked if any of our district games, win or lose, would be more than 10 points, for my team,” Kennedy said. “I don’t think we’ll beat anybody by more than 10, and I’d be shocked if we got beat by more than 10. It will come down to those possessions in the game of who executes and who gets the loose balls and who makes the free throws – those small things as coaches we harp on.”
The News is interested in your feedback! Please tap here to leave some thoughts on our feedback form or follow this link: