Nelson, West head All-Parish squad
By: LANCE REED
The basketball season in Evangeline Parish pretty much went as planned on the boy’s side of the coin, but there were some surprises on the girl’s side. The VPHS boys dominated the parish, won their district and made it to the quarter-finals in Class 2A. The Mamou Demons took the third slot and made the playoffs. They were eliminated by a very strong Oakdale team.
The girls competition was very good, and also had a few surprises. The Pine Prairie girls won District 6-2A and advanced to the second round of the playoffs. It was the first time in over a decade the Lady Panthers had a team that strong. Mamou also made the playoffs in 2008. Besides making the playoffs, they won the Evangeline Parish Tournament, which was held at Mamou High School. Ville Platte High took second in the district and took the runner-up spot at the Evangeline Parish Tournament. They lost in the first round of the playoffs.
The All-Evangeline Parish Girls team begins with the Most Valuable Player. Senior Chelsea West had an outstanding year for the Lady Panthers of Pine Prairie. She averaged 24 points per game and was also named to the Class 2A All-State team. Her average was higher than any player on the All-State team. West is also a force on the school’s track and softball teams.
Joining West on the AP first team is teammate Aprielle Milton. A freshman, Milton was the big rebounder for the Lady Panthers all season long. Two Lady Bulldogs join the PPHS duo. Senior Bralonica Doucet and Junior Rhonda Franks were easy selections from VPHS. Doucet averaged over 12 points per game, while Franks was good for 15 points per game. Each had over three steals a game as well. Mamou senior Sadie Fontenot rounds out the group. Fontenot put up 14 points per game and was among the team leaders in rebounds with six per game.
The AP second team began with another Lady Panther of Pine Prairie. Senior Kayla Johnson averaged eight points per game and was high in the rebound department with six per game. She also grabbed eight steals a game. Sacred Heart senior Lauren Parrott was named to the second team. She averaged 14 points per game and 10 rebounds. Her shoes will be very hard to fill for the Lady Trojans of SHHS. Mamou sophomore Mia Melvin was very high in the rebound department for the Lady Demons. Her performance under the bucket earned her a selection on the second team. Two Lady Bulldogs round out the second team. Freshman Deagenee Thomas and freshman Heidi Smith picked up lots of experience this year for VPHS. Thomas was strong under the basket and averaged 13 points per game. She had an amazing average of 14 points per game. Smith has been a force for VPHS since last year. She will continue to get better and better every year.
Several players received Honorable Mention: Sarah Fontenot (SHHS), Shakilya Gauthier (MHS), Falonda Jack (VPHS) and Shainee Fontenot and Chelsey Rider (PPHS).
Pine Prairie Head Coach Craig Whittington was selected as the Coach of the Year. He has completely turned the program around at PPHS. Whittington is in his third year at PPHS.
The AP boys team was dominated by Ville Platte High again this year. Ralensee Nelson, a junior, dominated the scoring category across the state for most of the year. A junior, Nelson averaged nearly 24 points per game. His selection as the Most Valuable Player of Evangeline Parish was easy, as he also made the Class 2A All-State team.
Joining Nelson are teammates Jovan Freeman, Jerry Joseph and Arthur Sampson III on the first team. Freeman received an Honorable Mention on the All-State team and averaged over 16 points per game. Joseph was tops in rebounds not only on his team, but in the parish. A senior, Joseph will be hard to replace next year for the Dogs. Sampson is only a junior but will be a very tough force again next year for VPHS. He gave Joseph a close run in rebounds for VPHS. Look for him to continue to dominate under the basket next season when he returns. Mamou’s Zack Baty rounds out the first team. The sophomore was all over the court for the Demons. He was good at hitting the three-point shot and scoring the easy lay-up on fast breaks.
Sacred Heart senior Derek Fontenot was selected to the second team. Fontenot’s consistency helped the Trojans compete in nearly every game this year, despite the fact they had to battle in a very tough district. Mamou’s Keith Thomas helped the Demons get to the playoffs. Thomas averaged over 12 points per game. David Lang and Kendall Celestine represent the Panthers on the second team. Lang and Celestine helped the Panthers compete for a spot in the playoffs. The Panthers were a game away from making the playoffs this season. Ville Platte’s Hansoni Alfred rounds out the second team. Alfred, who was a quarterback for VPHS, was the team leader in assists. He used his strong arm to get the ball down court and find his teammates.
Several basketball players received an Honorable Mention: Alex Sylvester (SHHS), Issac Thomas (MHS), Tyson Freeman (VPHS) and Brandon Freeman (PPHS).
Ville Platte High Head Coach Lionel Anderson was named the Coach of the Year. This is the third year in a row for Anderson to receive this honor.