For the first time in 15 months Tiara Young will be back on familiar soil to play a basketball game.
The Walker High standout first established herself as one of the nation’s top basketball players in her hometown of Shreveport, first on the AAU circuit and then at Evangel Christian Academy.
A season after scoring more 1,000 points and helping Walker High to the Class 5A state semifinals, Young was headed back home to take part in the Louisiana High School Coaches Association’s All-Star weekend in Bossier Parish Community College in Bossier City.
“The season didn’t go the way I wanted it to end but going back and getting to play in front of my family and everybody in Shreveport who supported me and watched me, is a big-time thing,” said Young, an LSU signee.
Young is part of a star-studded East All-Star team that also features point guard Alexius Horne of Denham Springs, a Southeastern Louisiana signee.
“It’s a great opportunity and I’m excited for it,” Horne said. “We have a great head coach (Barbara Farris of John Curtis) who won three straight championships. It’s going to be fun.”
Despite being a part of two teams at McKinley High that lost to Curtis in the Division I state finals, Horne has nothing but admiration for Farris.
“She’s a great coach,” she said. “I have respect for her.”
Horne made a family-related move to Denham Springs for her senior year and was among the driving forces behind a team that advanced to the Class 5A state championship for the first time in three years.
The Lady Jackets fell 66-57 to Captain Shreve, a game in which Horne led all scorers with 28 points, including 12 in the last 2:42 of play where she was trying to help rally her team.
Horne, a first team All-District 4-5A choice and second team All-LHSBCA All-State selection, averaged 20 points, 5 steals and 5 assists for the season.
“A lot of the players were the best for their teams,” Horne said. “My approach is to do what’s not being done in the game. Whatever it takes to win the game. I’m going to want to win the game.
“I’ll be playing for Denham Springs and McKinley,” Horne added. “I’ll play for my family with all the hard work I’ve been through. I can’t go out there and embarrass myself. I’m playing for everybody that supported me along the way to get there.”
Horne was especially appreciative of the support her parents provided along her journey.
“There were times where I didn’t feel like working out or practicing,” she said “My parents pushed me and told me it wasn’t going to be easy. They said I had to get ready for college because everybody works in college. This year I worked so hard. Even though we didn’t win (a state title), they supported me the whole way and have been there for me.”
Young believed the last time she played a competitive game in her hometown was Evangel’s last home district game against Haughton, a 53-35 victory, on Dec. 9, 2018.
There were a lot of victories and points scored along the way in what proved to be her final regular-season game at Evangel when Young made a family-related move to Walker.
Young, the state’s Gatorade Player of the Year and MVP on the LHSBCA All-State team, enjoyed a banner senior season that included a 29.3 scoring average, 6.9 rebounds and 3.1 steals.
The Lady Cats captured the District 4-5A championship and reached the Class 5A state semifinals.
With the opportunity to return to the Shreveport area for one final high school-sanctioned game, Young’s career will have come full circle. She relished the chance to play in front of so many familiar faces one last time.
“It’s going to be a lot of people,” Young said of the number of anticipated family members being on hand. “It’s going to be a good feeling going back and playing there.”
Young said this will mark the first time she’s played at Bossier Parish Community College, a gym she’s only familiar with having practiced there with her AAU team.
The all-star game also has some history with Young’s family where her mother Meoka, her former coach at Evangel and current Walker High assistant, served as an assistant coach in the event.
It’s a game Tiara Young’s envisioned playing in for some time.
“For the past couple of years, it was something I kept saying that I couldn’t wait to play in,” she said. “I couldn’t wait until that was me. I’m just going to go out and have fun.”
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